U.S. Caves to Japan on TPP Demands on Eve of President Obama Trip to Asia
Desire to Announce Progress Trumps Desire to Secure a Good Deal
As bipartisan opposition continues to build on Capitol Hill to the massive 12-nation trade pact opposed by a majority of Americans, negotiations have come to a standstill. Japan has refused to remove protective agricultural trade barriers on grains like rice and wheat, meat, sugar, dairy products and manufacturing products such as automobiles.
But yesterday, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President for Asia Tami Overby confidently announced that there would be a breakthrough on Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations when President Obama visits Japan next week during his trip to Asia.
We already knew that negotiations have been dominated by the corporate special interests that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce represents, but today we see that Overby was actually leaking out insider information.
It is not clear that U.S. negotiators’ desire to get any trade agreement finalized has trumpeted the desire to get a good trade agreement for American families. In exchange for announcing progress on TPP during President Obama’s trip next week, American negotiators are allowingJapan to retain tariffs on rice and wheat while agreeing to cut U.S. tariffs on 99.5 percent of goods imported from Japan.
So when President Obama announces progress next week on a trade pact that will unite 40 percent of the global economy and help drive down wages for American workers, ship good middle-class jobs overseas and reward the multinational corporations and the richest investors that have benefited from America’s trade agreements for the past 20 years, don’t be surprised.
Anyone can announce progress when you define progress as giving up everything you want and getting nothing back in return.
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