The United States International Trade Commission, "an independent, bipartisan, quasi-judicial, federal agency of the United States that provides trade expertise to both the legislative and executive branches," has just tabled a deep, 792-page report on the likely economic benefits to the USA from the secretly negotiated, anti-democratic Trans-Pacific Partnership, and they predict that the agreement will deliver 0.01% growth to the US economy between now and 2032, when it will level off altogether.
Moreover, the USITC's previous projections of trade agreements have significantly overestimated the net benefit they'd deliver.
The USITC report joins reports from think tanks, the European Commission, an economic institute at Tufts University and the World Bank in predicting that TPP will deliver either no benefit, very little benefit, or real costs to the economies of the nations involved.
But the agreement will deliver power to a few influential multinational corporations — the same ones who were allowed to participate in the TPP negotiations even as elected members of the US Congress and European Parliament were frozen out of any information on the proceedings, and even threatened with jail time if they pierced TPP's iron curtain of secrecy.
Those corporations will get a host of benefits, including the power to sue governments to repeal laws that are likely to undermine their expected future profits (the "Investor-State Dispute System").
Hillary Clinton initially supported TPP, then came out against it early in her campaign. Now she's for it again.
n the rare occasions when TPP supporters have made specific claims about the economic benefits of TPP, they have consistently failed to take into account any downsides. It's like going into a business deal only looking at the benefits, and ignoring any possible costs. Against this chorus of disapproval, it's interesting to see how TPP supporters try to spin the USITC's miserable figures. Here's what the Business Roundtable, "an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies", has to say:
"The release of the ITC report marks an important step in the process for considering the TPP. We look forward to reviewing the report's findings as we continue to highlight the benefits of the TPP to American businesses, farmers and workers," said Tom Linebarger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cummins Inc., and Chair of the Business Roundtable International Engagement Committee. "The TPP will remove many foreign barriers to U.S. goods and services and impose strong, enforceable rules for trade — enabling U.S. manufacturing, services and technology companies to grow their sales to important international markets."
"The TPP sets high standards and reflects American priorities, and if the United States doesn't take the lead in shaping international trade rules, our economic competitors will," continued Linebarger.
That's it: the Business Roundtable could not find a single number to quote that made TPP look like a good deal.