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.