Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations Need to Lead to Fully Free Trade

Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations Need to Lead to Fully Free Trade
March 18, 2014

Seton Motley

Seton Motley is the president of Less Government, a DC-based non-profit organization dedicated to... (read full bio)

The United States and Japan are at the trade negotiation table – for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“The 2005 Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP or P4) is a trade agreement among Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore….

“(T)he US joined the TPP in 2011…. The Obama Administration has begun talks with Asian and Latin American nations to enter into the Trans-Pacific Strategic and Economic Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The talks with Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam were originally initiated by the Bush Administration.”

Absolutely excellent.  The freer the trade the better – the more the merrier.

Not everyone agrees.  Here is the nearly-always-ridiculous New York Times – proffering Joseph Stiglitz.

On the Wrong Side of Globalization

“The conflicting views about the agreements are actually tearing at the fabric of the Democratic Party….”

Good to see Mr. Stiglitz and the Times have their priorities in order.  “It may be great for the nation – but it really hurts our domestic politics.”

In his State of the Union address, for example, (President Barack Obama) blandly referred to “new trade partnerships” that would “create more jobs.

Most immediately at issue is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, which would bring together 12 countries along the Pacific Rim in what would be the largest free trade area in the world.

Negotiations for the TPP began in 2010, for the purpose, according to the United States Trade Representative, of increasing trade and investment, through lowering tariffs and other trade barriers among participating countries.

That all sounds very good to me.  Protectionism has been a problem for decades, both abroad – and here.

“For years, (America’s) ridiculous, bloated subsidy-and-tax farm law was only terrible domestic policy.  But as a global farm market developed, it became yet another free trade impediment.

“And it led other farm-exporting countries to erect their own free trade impediments.  Lather-rinse-repeat – decades later the we have turned the global market into an a la carte protectionism nightmare mess.”

So far in TPP negotiations, Japan has been resistant to rolling back some of the government policies that impede free trade.

U.S. Fails to Get Japan to Budge on Tariffs for ‘Sacred’ Produce Items

“The U.S. side has strongly demanded Japan remove tariffs on beef and pork in past negotiations. The other four products are rice, wheat, dairy products and sugar.”

Which is not entirely non-understandable, given the terribleness our government just extruded.

After the Heinous Farm Bill – What Next?

What we need to do is go tit-for-tat with Japan.  Very vocally offer to axe protectionisms in our just-passed nightmare mess – and beyond – in exchange for the Japanese axing theirs.  Oh look – some key domestic players are looking to do exactly that:

US Farm Groups Puts More Pressure on TPP Talks with Japan  

“While strong opposition to the TPP exists in President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party,…several farm industry groups are pushing for its approval.”

There again is the always helpful Democrat Party.

Ag Groups Want Japan Trade Concessions

“Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and representatives of several leading farm groups said Thursday that the U.S. should not agree to a Japanese proposal to leave agricultural products out of the current negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that would reduce tariffs among 12 nations.

“If they get their way, then every other country will suddenly have a list of sacred products that can’t be touched,” said Grassley….”

They’re right – piecemeal freer trade is not free trade.

S.Korea Can’t Join Pacific Trade Talks Until U.S. Issues Fixed

“South Korea will not be welcomed into a planned Pacific free-trade pact until all problems are resolved in carrying out an existing trade deal with the United States, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.

“Two years after the agreement came into force, the United States was still trying to make sure promises to ease the path for U.S. exports into South Korea were fully met, the official said, pointing to problems with customs regulations and autos.”

So let’s have everyone open up every possible free trade avenue – and let innumerable blossoms of capitalism bloom all over the world.

 

[Originally posted at PJ Tatler]

Seton Motley

Seton Motley is the president of Less Government, a DC-based non-profit organization dedicated to... (read full bio)