The reactions, statements and tweets came fast and furious after trade ministers from 12 countries announced they’d finally agreed to terms on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that will, if ratified, govern a third of global trade.
U.S. officials and politicians
“We are committed to opening trade in a way that benefits American manufacturers, farmers, and innovators,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a statement. “But serious concerns have been raised on a number of key issues,” he said, adding that the deal “demands intense scrutiny by Congress.”
“Progress has been made on important issues, with the outcome on a multitude of issues still requiring deeper scrutiny, and others falling short of the results we seek,” said Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sandy Levin, a Democrat from Michigan.
Secretary of State John Kerry tweeted: “#TPP will have immediate, positive effects for US economy, will shape our econ & strategic relationships in Asia-Pacific long into future.”
“By building partnerships through principle, openness, and high standards, TPP will help reduce regional instability and cement American influence and leadership in this fast-growing region in the world,” said Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.
In an interview with Breitbart News, presidential candidate Donald Trump slammed the TPP.
“The small-business operators, farmers, manufacturers and others will again be burdened with unfair trade practices, currency manipulation, exploitation of cheap labor, an onerous tax code and no help coming from the very people charged with putting America first,” he said.
“The big losers in the TPP are patients and treatment providers in developing countries,” said Judit Rius, with Doctors Without Borders.
“Although the text has improved over the initial demands, the TPP will still go down in history as the worst trade agreement for access to medicines in developing countries, which will be forced to change their laws to incorporate abusive intellectual property protections for pharmaceutical companies.”
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), fell short of Big Pharma’s most extreme demands but will contribute to preventable suffering and death,” said Peter Maybarduk, the director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program.
A statement from Action on Smoking and Health: “In a major victory for public health, negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement concluded … with built-in protections to prevent private corporations from suing governments over anti-tobacco regulations,” though its executive director noted that she would have “preferred a blanket exemption for tobacco in the agreement.”
“We commend the United States and other countries that stood up to the tobacco industry and put public health first,” read a joint statement from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association and American Lung Association.
“The provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership go beyond what we have seen in other trade agreements,” said the World Wildlife Fund’s David McCauley told the New York Times. “We see this as a very big deal.”
“The TPP’s environment chapter might look nice on the surface but will be hollow on the inside, and history gives us no reason to believe that TPP rules on conservation challenges such as the illegal timber or wildlife trade will ever be enforced,” said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune.
“By handing even more power to Big Oil, letting massive corporations throw tantrum lawsuits at governments who dare to scale back emissions, and spreading fracking further around the world, there’s no question that TPP is an absolute disaster for our climate,” said 350.org executive director May Boeve.
“Though we are waiting to examine the final details, our briefings at the Atlanta TPP round lead us to believe that U.S. negotiators were able to achieve a well balanced and reasonable outcome for U.S. textile manufacturers and our partners within the Western Hemisphere,” said National Council of Textile Organizations President Augustine Tantillo, who was in Atlanta for the talks.
“As a top U.S. exporter, Ford supports free trade agreements that result in real market openings and a level playing field for all to compete,” said Ziad Ojakli, with Ford’s Government and Community Relations team. “Unfortunately, the TPP agreement does not meaningfully address currency manipulation – the biggest trade barrier we face.”
“Just as we feared, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is moving forward without any meaningful language addressing one of the chief tools used by our trade competitors to ensure the playing field is never fair: currency manipulation,” said National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson.
“USA Rice will review the documents in detail when available and will, in consultation with our leadership, decide whether the market access gains are significant enough for us to support passage in Congress,” said USA Rice Chairman Dow Brantley, a rice farmer from Arkansas.
“From the statements made by our negotiators, it appears that the agreement will eliminate tariffs and other market access barriers in most markets, and substantially increase access in remaining markets,” said Texas farmer and American Soybean Association President Wade Cowan. “We are optimistic that soybeans, soybean products, and the livestock products produced by our customers all will fare well in the TPP agreement when specific details are revealed.”
“I congratulate the TPP countries, their ministers and their teams of negotiators,” said Roberto Azevêdo, the director-general of the World Trade Organization. “The success of the TPP negotiations is proof that a diverse group of countries can strike a deal on a broad and complex trade agreement if the political will and determination are there. I hope that the result in Atlanta will serve as an inspiration for WTO members as we seek to produce substantial outcomes by Nairobi.”
“The agreement reached today by the countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a very positive development,” said International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “We would need to review all the details before offering a comprehensive assessment, including the transitional effects and spillovers, but I expect that the TPP can pave the way to a new generation of deep trade integration efforts.”
One trade and trade deals in general
“The thing you should know about trade agreements is that advocates oversell them and opponents exaggerate their downsides,” blogged Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and a former member of President Obama’s economic team. “This problem gets amped up when few on either side have access to the actual terms of the deal.”
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