Meeting Minutes from InspireSeattle Social on May 7, 2016

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Is This Asian Trade Agreement Good or Band for America (and Americans)?

President Obama's Office of the United States Trade Representative frames the TPP as "INCREASING AMERICAN EXPORTS, SUPPORTING AMERICAN JOBS". Is this true? At what cost?

Obama announced the United States' intention to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to conclude an ambitious, next-generation, Asia-Pacific trade agreement that "reflects U.S. economic priorities and values". Obama states this will boost U.S. economic growth and support the creation and retention of high-quality American jobs by increasing exports in a region that includes some of the world's most robust economies and that represents nearly 40 percent of global GDP. The US is negotiating the TPP with 11 other countries (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam). The TPP is the cornerstone of the Obama Administration's economic policy in the Asia Pacific. As a group, the TPP countries are the largest goods and services export market of the United States. U.S. goods exported to TPP countries totaled $698 billion in 2013, representing 44 percent of total U.S. goods exports.

Clearly this proposed TPP has been a hot topic this election season, with some presidential candidates for it, some against it. (Hillary Clinton has been both for and against it!). On the "against" side, some candidates argue that this deal would mimic the effects of NAFTA by exporting jobs, lowering wages, and leading to greater income inequality. Even more, what has been left out of this conversation is the impact of the TPP on several aspects of our economy and legal system. The TPP increases the length of drug patents, limits our ability to regulate Wall Street, affects copyright laws and the internet, and as will be presented at the meeting, poses a serious threat to our ability to fight climate change. In this 5000 page document, the words "climate change" are not even mentioned. Instead, the deal grants corporations a powerful tool against our ability to fight climate change. This tool "the Investor-State Dispute Settlement system (ISDS)" threatens our sovereignty and our climate by allowing foreign corporations to demand damages in foreign trade tribunals over laws designed to protect the public and our environment.

Clearly trade is critical for the US in our global economy. This discussion is to evaluate the pros and cons of the TPP and its likely impact on Americans, and the planet.

Please join us for this important discussion!


Many thanks to Vandana for taking time to speak to us and Carrie Bogner hosting this event.



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