The TPP: A Benefit or a Cost?

What is the TPP, and whom is it actually benefiting? The TPP is a free trade agreement created by the Obama administration. Many different arguments point to both the U.S. benefiting as a whole, and to only big multinational corporations benefiting from the trade agreement. According to pro-TPP advocates, the ultimate goal of TPP is to “level the playing field” for American workers and corporations. This means that TPP works to create more higher paying jobs for American citizens, attempt to boost our crumbling economy, and increase the amount of exports of American made products. Another one of TPP’s primary objectives is to ensure that smaller traders and merchants, like farmers, are able to sell their products abroad in a simpler way. They plan to achieve this by reducing 18,000 taxes that the other countries enforce on the U.S. for foreign trade. Could this really work, or does it sound too good to be true?

To many people, the TPP seems like a great plan to fix our nation’s economy, and strengthen the United States’ presence in other countries, particularly around Asia. However, not everyone believes that there aren’t more costs than benefits to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Will there be a bigger price to pay for the TPP agreement? Anti-TPP advocates argue that as the trade deal goes through, more harm could be done to the environment, and will obstruct the progress of our climate change efforts. In addition, the TPP opposition contends that large fossil fuel companies will have the ability to sue countries like the United States for getting in the way of the company’s profits as a result of climate action. Furthermore, they argue that TPP could weaken the middle class, lower employee wages, and force the United States to compete for jobs with countries like Vietnam, where the minimum wage is only $2.75 per day.

After what seems like way too long, the “secret” text of the TPP agreement has finally been revealed. Click here to read it in its entirety. Now that we have been given the text, we can try to understand what the TPP is really about. Some of the attractive qualities about the TPP include restrictions on child and forced labor, and enforcing laws regarding human rights. However, what worries people even more is that the United States supposedly benefits less than all of the other countries involved. For example, TPP’s mission to lower tariffs will result in a greater amount of outsourcing. Also, the TPP agreement undermines the automotive industry’s protectionism, which is ultimately a loss for the United States. How can we trust that TPP is a solution when it seems like there will be so many more consequences to the agreement? The President has given congress a 90-day notice to sign the agreement. How soon can we really expect to hear the voting results? The President has made it evident that he hopes to begin the vote as early as this coming January. Hopefully, the right decision for our country will be made.

Author

Corine Toren, Content Editor

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