Roughan on TPP


There’s a headline I wish would appear in newspapers across America. It would say something like, “ allies back big deal with China”.

The story below would start, “US trade partners, meeting on the fringes of the Asean summit in Laos this week, are looking to China to spearhead a alternative agreement if the Trans-Pacific Partnership is rejected by Congress”.

This is what will happen if the US doesn’t ratify. Nature abhors a vacuum and China will fill it.

Ultimately it may not matter if the TPP is not ratified by the US. The deal signed in Auckland in January has set a new benchmark for the principles and rules of global commerce. It stands for what can be agreed between governments that believe the path to prosperity for people everywhere is built on common recognition of property rights, investors’ rights, fair competitive markets for goods, services and finance and national standards for employment, environmental protection, health and safety that do not discriminate between foreign and domestic industries.

The TPP does all of that and, if its opponents would only admit it, the deal was better than they expected. One of the ironies of the opposition to it is that while Trump and Sanders and their supporters are calling it a bad deal for Americans, those marching on New Zealand streets think it is a sell-out to the US. Trump and Sanders are closer to the truth. The US conceded a lot more than most of us were led to expect.

This is true. The NZ negotiators did a great job in standing firm on key issues.

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