THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

 

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is a global free trade agreement negotiated by Pacific Rim countries: United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam, Chile, Brunei, Singapore, and New Zealand.

This agreement enable to make the exports of Made-in-America goods and services easier by eliminating over 18,000 different taxes and other trade barriers. It will help support American jobs and grow the American economy.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was entered into force on January 1, 1994. The agreement is negotiated by the United States, Canada and Mexico, which is one of the largest free trade zone in the world. It is the same idea as TPP, NAFTA has eliminated trade tariffs and  barriers to create strong economic growth for those three countries and the strategy has succeeded as a result. It has brought strong economic growth, job creation and better prices and selections in consumer goods.

However, there are some controversies about TPP, and I picked up three key issues.

First of all, the agreement allows companies and countries to challenge another nation’s rules and laws that have the effect of regulating overseas companies from competing in their market.

In Japan, for example, all of medical care are controlled by the government, so if you have a citizenship in Japan, you have to take out one of official medical insurances that the government designate. In addition, the government set all the prices of any medicines and medical equipment.

However, the TPP agreement will abolish those regulations because it will allow to trade medical materials, which means the government in Japan cannot control medical care anymore due to those products imported from overseas. It will make increase the price of medical care and equipment, and some of Japanese citizens, such as low-income people, would not be able to take out the medical insurance because of its high expense.

The other issues are also related to a U.S.-made drug trade.The United States tries to make it harder to pirate U.S.-made drugs and software. During the deal, the United States claimed to last the protection for 12 years. Eventually, the final deal gave five years of protection, but it can be changed depending on the circumstances. However, the multi-year monopolies will drive up the price of life-saving medicine.

Finally, the U.S. labor critics’ questioning that “Is it actually enforced that labor protections for workers in every country?” which suggests that some low wage jobs are lost overseas in the process, for example, if the deal means that manufacture here can use cheaper imported parts, they will be more competitive.

Therefore, organized labor, environmental groups and public health experts strongly oppose the agreement. It will encourage corporate deregulation and send jobs to low-wage countries with poor human rights records including Asian countries.

However, on the one hand, President Obama expects that the TPP agreement will prevent overseas companies from using child labor, improve bad working conditions and set minimum standards for workplaces in the 11 other countries.

On the other hand, Hillary ClintonBernie Sanders, and Donald Trump all those strongest candidates oppose the trade agreement.

“I have been trying to learn as much as I can about the agreement,” Hillary Clinton argue. “But I’m worried. I’m worried about currency manipulation not being part of the agreement. We’ve lost American jobs to the manipulations that countries, particularly in Asia, have engaged in. I’m worried the pharmaceutical companies may have gotten more benefits — and patients and consumers fewer. I think there are still a lot of unanswered questions.”

“This trade agreement would continue the race to the bottom for American workers,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate.

As I looked for tweets related to #AntiTPP, I found so many tweets and news about anti-TPP and demonstration against the agreement written in other languages such as Japanese, which implies that TPP is a big issue for all of those 11 countries citizens and so many people still strongly protest the agreement.

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This tweet says that the United States is trying to invade not only Japanese agricultural market but also medical care and insurance.

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