US Is Officially Out Of The TPP, Though Not For Any Of The (Many) Good Reasons

from the but-at-least-that's-behind-us dept

We've been quite vocal for more than six years about the problems of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, and why it would do really bad things for intellectual property laws and expand the concept of corporate sovereignty over national laws. Throughout the campaign, both major candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, campaigned against the agreement, though many people (quite reasonably) doubted Clinton's sincerity over that position.

On the flip side, no one doubted Trump's sincerity -- but many of us disagreed with his reasons. Still, it's at least marginally good news to have Trump officially get us out of the TPP negotiations, effectively killing the agreement.

President Trump formally abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Monday, pulling away from Asia and scrapping his predecessor’s most significant trade deal on his first full weekday in office, administration officials said.

Mr. Trump sharply criticized the partnership agreement during last year’s campaign, calling it a bad deal for American workers. Although the deal had not been approved by Congress, the decision to withdraw the American signature at the start of Mr. Trump’s administration is a signal that he plans to follow through on promises to take a more aggressive stance against foreign competitors.

Of course, as per in the campaign, Trump's reasons for withdrawing are not the same reasons we were concerned about the TPP. Trump seems to be focused on extreme protectionism and tariffs, a position that will do massive harm to the US economy. And, of course, there's reasonable fear that in doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, what comes up instead will be even worse.

And, of course, in completely dropping out of TPP, it also means throwing out the baby with the bathwater -- including some parts of the TPP that would actually be quite useful, including the sections on the free flow of information across borders, which is important to keeping the internet functioning globally, blocking the ability of authoritarian countries to demand localized servers (that can be used for surveillance or to cut off access to the global internet) and more. And, as of yet, there is no indication that the new administration cares about any of this.

So, yes, it's good that the TPP is dead. It was a bad agreement put together in secrecy with lots of bad elements. But, we need to watch quite carefully what comes next, with the recognition that it very well could be worse.


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  1. icon
    Berenerd (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 11:09am

    We're gonna built a firewall and have the hackers pay for it!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Ninja (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 11:12am

    "including some parts of the TPP that would actually be quite useful, including the sections on the free flow of information across borders, which is important to keeping the internet functioning globally, blocking the ability of authoritarian countries to demand localized servers (that can be used for surveillance or to cut off access to the global internet) and more"

    Considering he means to effectively kill the Internet as we know today by gutting the FCC and killing net neutrality protections I don't think this would have any chance of surviving. As for the surveillance and cutting access the intelligence outfits in the US and copyright has those covered already. So.. Win?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Capt ICE Enforcer (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 11:15am

    Huh

    We don't need a treaty to help with the free flow of information across the globe. We have been doing it for years. If we start to put it in writing then that will allow the government to believe it is allowed to stop it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2017 @ 11:26am

    Re: Huh

    You're quite naive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re: Huh

    How so?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    afn29129 (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 11:37am

    Plural 'we'

    "... the same reasons we were ....", you must have a mouse in your pocket Mike.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 11:54am

    Re: Plural 'we'

    Or perhaps more than one Techdirt writer, plus all the Techdirt Insiders and regulars.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    silverscarcat (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 12:19pm

    The mere fact...

    That TPP was done in secret, special interests being the only ones to see the full text and no lawmakers could do anything to it made it worth killing entirely.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Deimal (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 12:28pm

    To be fair

    On more than one occasion he offered one of the reasons being the investor-state dispute courts. If I recall correctly, that was disliked pretty strongly here and (for me anyway) was a good enough reason alone to kill it. Let alone the continued promulgation of terrible US IP laws around the world (not one of Trump's reasons iirc) or the fact that it was negotiated in secret with no public input (any of the 3 would by itself be enough for me)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Re: Plural 'we'

    I am pretty sure "we" know who we are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2017 @ 12:50pm

    Re: The mere fact...

    hey.... let them spin it like Trump is bad no matter which decision he made.

    I am all for making the right decisions for the right reason's, but I can hold my tongue with the right decision being made for the wrong reasons.

    Others have to nit pick no matter what, which is what I am usually accused of.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Thad, 23 Jan 2017 @ 1:29pm

    Re: To be fair

    Right, but judging by the proposals for renegotiating NAFTA so far, Trump's not opposed to any of those things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 2:03pm

    Baby and bathwater

    Throwing out the baby with the bathwater is exactly what the US electorate did this year removing all trace of political cronyism and with it all trace of political savvy.

    E

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2017 @ 2:30pm

    Re:

    I think you mean kill the internet as we could have known but never actually did because net neutrality was never really enforced. At&t, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile all took a shit on Net Neutrality and nothing as ever done about it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Thad, 23 Jan 2017 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Baby and bathwater

    removing all trace of political cronyism

    You're joking, right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2017 @ 2:37pm

    Reminds me of the previous trade bill failures

    Brings to mind other horrible bills filled with all sorts of terrible provisions. But what killed it was the EU farm lobby of all things - with their completely untenable regional food naming demands. When parmesan cheese has been produced outside of Parma for generations you aren't going to get the rest of the world to agree to it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    Koby (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 3:10pm

    So tough

    It's tough for some authors to admit that a political opponent like Trump could do a better job of trashing these corporate trade agreements than their golden boy Obama. I'm hopeful Trump is going to prove that all sides of the political spectrum need to NOT elect the usual cronies during the primary process, which will result in far superior decisions being made than the usual career politicians, no matter who wins the November election.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    tracyanne, 23 Jan 2017 @ 4:03pm

    Our PM might be pretty upset

    But I don't care what Trumps reasons were, the TPP is dead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2017 @ 4:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Huh

    Yeah, what is so naive about the post?

    Treaties, typically, are written to stop something.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2017 @ 5:33pm

    Probably the only time I'll say this: Thank you Trump.
    - Sincerly, A non-US resident whose government is desperate to suck up to America.

    P.S.: If there are good things in the TPP, perhaps consider doing smaller, more focused and open agreements with them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 7:11pm

    Re: Re: The mere fact...

    The problem with doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is that if the issue comes up again and the particular bad reason isn't there the second/third/fourth time then the person might not object for the 'right' reasons and let it through. Simply presenting the same rotten problem under a different name and with slight tweaks can be enough to let it slip through.

    On the other hand if someone is doing the right thing for the right reasons then dressing up the same problem slightly different isn't going to help much, as the core problem is still there and so is the objection to it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 10:40pm

    From the CBC: How NAFTA renegotiations might unfold

    TPP is dead. Long live TPP

    A year ago it seemed NAFTA might be superseded by the TPP. All three NAFTA countries were onboard.

    Now it's the other way around.

    At his confirmation hearing Thursday, treasury secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin said the TPP could be a "starting point" for NAFTA talks.

    Already-agreed-upon TPP chapters — on labour, environmental standards, intellectual property, or e-commerce — could migrate.

    If seen as minor amendments, TPP text could become NAFTA annexes or side letters.

    So, on to the next round of TPP negotiations.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 1:19am

    It may not be the end of TPP, overall, as the other 11 nations are going to try and ratify TPP without the United States.

    Of course, they will have to open negotiations again to change it, since the current TPP requires ratification by both Japan and the USA to come into force.

    Maybe without America on board, they can scale back the draconian copyright policies in the agreement, who knows.

    Of course, there could still be a 12th nation. If California, Oregon, and Washington all hold the proposed 2019 vote on secession from the United States, and the Republic Of Pacifica is created, I think that the Pacificans would join the TPP, as Hollywood would all but demand it, for the copyright laws they want. That is why I, as a Californian, will be voting no on secession, if voters in all three states, on the 2018 ballot, give the green light for the 2019 secession vote.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    CK20XX (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 4:06am

    Re:

    I don't think the Republic of Pacifica would work. If it does get created though, Trump would literally be the last president of the United States, and the GOP would have to live with the fact that it literally destroyed America at long last.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    GristleMissile (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 4:11am

    Re:

    "P.S.: If there are good things in the TPP, perhaps consider doing smaller, more focused and open agreements with them."

    Funnily enough, that's Trump's stated plan.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 24 Jan 2017 @ 5:39am

    Re: Re:

    That was the plan all along; many of them are anarchists intent on bringing back the Articles of Confederation despite the fact that it was such an abject failure it didn't last long and was superseded by the Constitution.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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