The following is an excellent article written by David Dayen on August 4, 2015 on Salon which was published in the September 1, 2015 issue of The Progressive Populist on page 12 titled “Don’t Look Now, But TPP Just Hit a Major Snag” and I quote:
“Since the passage of fast-track authority, the biggest obstacle to more corporate-written international trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has not been unions or environmentalists or public health advocates. It’s been the calendar. And jostling by TPP member countries over domestic priorities may have just created such a calendar problem that we will not see a deal completed by the end of the Obama presidency.
Ministerial meetings in Maui last week were supposed to end in an agreement between the 12 nations negotiating TPP. But those talks broke up on Friday without a breakthrough. Officials played down the differences, claiming that anywhere from 90 to 98 percent of the details have been finalized. But the outstanding issues involve the basic building blocks of a trade agreement — specifically, what industries get tariff elimination and unfettered market access, and which remain protected.
For example, the U.S. wants to protect profits for the pharmaceutical industry by increasing exclusivity times for prescription drugs, including lucrative biologics that often cost tens of thousands of dollars per treatment. Generic drug manufacturers would not be able to make cheaper knock-off versions for 12 years, a much longer exclusivity period than the current standard in TPP partners like Australia, Chile and New Zealand. Those countries have rejected intellectual property barriers posted for the benefit of large drug companies.
Other stumbling blocks concern major industries. For example, the U.S. won’t open up its sugar trade. Japan wants to limit access to its rice markets. New Zealand is seeking lower tariffs for the Canadian dairy market. Japanese carmakers want to continue to source auto parts from non-TPP countries like Thailand, but Mexico and Canada want that supply chain to end.
Add to that still-unresolved pieces over labor standards and other agricultural matters like beef and pork, and it doesn’t sound like only a few loose ends need to be tied up — especially when ministers were reduced to touting agreement on trifles like “geographical appellations,” such as whether sparkling wine from places other than the south of France can be called champagne.
The biggest hint that TPP’s completion isn’t happening anytime soon comes in the short joint statement from ministers upon conclusion of the Maui talks. They vow to “continue work on resolving a limited number of remaining issues,” but they conspicuously do not say when.
Japan’s economic minister said talks should resume in late August, but other media outlets claimed they wouldn’t until November. The discrepancy can be explained by news out of Ottawa this weekend: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called elections for October 19, and with important implications in TPP for Canadian dairy farms and beloved state-run enterprises like the CBC and Canada Post (both of which may have to be privatized under the agreement), he would not want to ignite controversy by signing a major trade deal in the middle of the campaign. The chance of August negotiations is made more remote by polls showing the Canadian electorate ready for a change.”
(REGARDLESS OF HOW HARD PRESIDENT OBAMA IS PUSHING FOR THE PASSAGE OF THE TPP (TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP) TRADE DEAL, HE’S MEETING SOME VERY STIFF OPPOSITION FROM SEN ELIZABETH WARREN AND SEN BERNIE SANDERS AND OTHER DEMOCRATS IN THEIR OWN PARTY AGAINST THE TPP DEAL AND WHO EXACTLY IS IT GOING TO HELP? THE WAY IT SOUNDS, THE ONLY PEOPLE BENEFITING ARE THE BIG CORPORATIONS, WHO ARE LOOKING FOR THE CHEAPEST LABOR THEY CAN FIND, DEFINITELY NOT FOR THE GOOD OF THE ECOLOGY, INCLUDING CLEAN AIR AND CLEAN WATER, WHICH WILL BE AFFECTING EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD. IT’S LOOKS LIKE THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION IS EVEN GETTING INVOLVED IN THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM AND WHO CAN PRODUCE THE CHEAPEST SOLAR POWER, AS WELL AS WIND POWER. OIL PRICES NOW ARE AT A RECORD LOW BUT WE’RE HAVING THE COST OF GASOLINE IN THE MIDWEST JUMPING UP 20 AND 30 CENTS A DAY BECAUSE OF A REFINING PROBLEM, I BELIEVE, IN INDIANA. YOU WOULD THINK AS LONG AS THE PROBLEM HAS BEEN LASTING, THAT THE WHOLE REFINERY MUST HAVE BLOWN UP BUT I NEVER SAW OR HEARD ANYTHING IN THE MEDIA AS OF YET. SEEMS TO ME THEY WOULD HAVE SENT SOME REPORTERS DOWN TO FIND OUT WHAT IS GOING ON. THAT’S WHY THE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES WE’RE HAVING THIS YEAR ARE SO INTERESTING. NOTHING SEEMS TO WORK NOWADAYS AT WASHINGTON OR ON WALL STREET OTHER THAN THE BIG SALARIES THE CEOs, SUCH AS JAMIE DIMON AND OTHERS ARE MAKING. SEEMS LIKE WE’RE HAVING CLASS WARFARE AROUND THE WORLD NOWADAYS. SUPPLY AND DEMAND SEEMS TO BE ONLY WORKING FOR THE ELITIST OF COMPANIES AND CORRUPT CEOs.
LaVern Isely, Progressive, Overtaxed, Independent Middle Class Taxpayer and Public Citizen and USAF Veteran