The Westside Gazette

Is President Obama keeping the Trans-Pacific Pact secret?

Roger Caldwell

Is President Obama keeping the Trans-Pacific Pact secret?

By Roger Caldwell

The Trans-Pacific Pact was started in 2005, and now there are 12 countries that are members of the partnership agreement. The members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. The goal was to wrap up the negotiations by 2012, but the countries have not reached final agreements.

President Barack Obama has made the implementation of the Trans-Pacific Pact one of the primary goals of his administration. But many members in Congress, many business leaders, and the media have charged the Obama administration of not being transparent and secretive with the negotiations. In 2013, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla) were among a group of individuals who criticized the Obama administration of being secretive with TPP negotiations.

Depending on which leak you are listening too, some believe that the TPP is a progressive trade agreement that will improve cooperation and trade with the different countries around the world. Some believe the TPP will ensure rights of workers to form unions, protect against employment discrimination, and establish a minimum wage and workplace safety. President Obama wants the TPP to enforce environmental laws by protecting endangered species, and ending harmful fisheries that jeopardize the health of our oceans.

These trade agreements impact almost every segment of life in the member countries, and many experts argue that there is no way the countries will be able to enforce or police such a large undertaking. Right now, America is in a race with China to secure a trade deal with countries in Asia-Pacific. This is one of the fastest growing markets in the world, and America needs a trade agreement to expand business.

President Obama has said that he will not sign an agreement that does not put the American worker first. But the negotiations are secret and the president is reluctant to share information about the agreement. “This may be the most progressive trade agreement in history” says President Obama, but that statement is hard to determine if there is still no agreement since 2005.

Another contentious issue is that certain countries devalue their currency to boost exports to gain a trade advantage. This is being done all the time by certain countries, and many major American companies want this practice stopped. It is easy to say that this is unfair, but to implement a change or stop the practice is almost impossible.

Finally, many experts think that this trade agreement is a “Trojan Horse” and it may never happen. Economist Paul Krugman says, “I’ll be undismayed and even a bit relieved if the TPP just fades away. There isn’t a compelling case for this deal from either a global or a national point of view.”

Too many on the outside think the TPP is a big headache, and there are too many arms and legs for the agreement to ever work. Everyone is waiting to see what is done with the internet service providers, and if every country shares in the wind field of profits. Some say that multi-national companies are helping to write stipulations and agreements in the TPP, and they stand to gain enormous financial benefits.

It is now 2015 and contentious issues such as agriculture, intellectual property, and service and investments have not been worked out. Even though the President wants this to be a primary goal of his Administration, the TPP may never happen, and it may just fade away.

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