Even Optimistic TPP Numbers Aren’t Much to Celebrate


The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) is tasked with reporting on the economic benefits of proposed trade deals. Traditionally, the agency has served as big boosters of such agreements, touting gains that never materialize. But late yesterday, when it released its evaluation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, even the USITC could only put so much lipstick on this pig of a pact.

Instead of an improvement in the nation’s trade deficit, it predicted the opposite. And it predicted losses in 16 of 25 U.S. economic sectors, making it clear that if the 12-nation Pacific Rim agreement ever gets through Congress, it will be a disaster for many in the workforce. In total, it estimates 0.15 percent growth in the nation’s GDP over the next 15 years as well as 0.07 percent growth in American jobs during the same period.

That’s just not going to get it done. Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said the Commission’s findings only give further credence to the union’s belief that the TPP is a lousy deal for the country’s workers.

“The Teamsters recently filed comments with the Commission about how the TPP would negatively affect not only our workers, but the American workforce in general,” he said. “Manufacturing, in particular, will be hardest hit because workers in countries like Vietnam are paid pennies on the dollar compared to those in the U.S. This country should not engage in a race to the bottom.”

The report estimates a decline in output from manufacturing, national resources and energy of $10.8 billion. Meanwhile, the miniscule economic growth predicted means the U.S. would be as wealthy on Jan. 1, 2032 with the TPP as it would be on Feb. 15, 2032 without it.

Is that really worth the loss of U.S. jobs, the slashing of wages, the increased importing of unsafe food and products into this country, more expensive medicines and a less clean environment? Clearly not. That’s, of course, if the growth numbers are even correct, which history shows they probably are not.

Those aren’t the only concerns. The TPP would empower more foreign corporations to sue the U.S. government in private tribunals so they could demand taxpayer compensation for American laws they claim violate their rights under the trade agreement.

This deal is only a good one for big business. More elected officials are recognizing that now. The Teamsters urge them to stick to those convictions and defeat the TPP if it comes to a vote.