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TPP Top 10 Critical Problems

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
1. The TPP allows currency-manipulating countries to kill U.S. jobs. The current TPP text doesn’t contain enforceable currency manipulation rules. Countries that intentionally devalue their currency cheat U.S. manufacturers and undermine any benefits from tariff reductions. Enforcing currency manipulation rules is probably the single most effective thing the United States could do to create jobs; in fact, doing so could add as many as 5.8 million jobs.1
2. The TPP lets foreign corporations bypass U.S. law. The current TPP text allows multinational companies to challenge U.S. laws, regulations and safeguards through a provision called investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS), a private justice system that undermines our democracy. Through ISDS, foreign investors can seek compensation from the United States for enforcing regulations and safeguards designed to protect America’s working families. In fact, multinational companies currently are using ISDS to attack democratic policies and laws in Australia, Canada, Egypt, Peru and Uruguay, among many others.
3. The TPP allows climate change to go unchecked. The current TPP text doesn’t contain any enforceable climate change commitments or “border fees” to offset the cost of environment damaging imports. This undermines our efforts to address climate change and jeopardizes the important U.S.-China bilateral agreement on climate change and clean energy. 2 It does nothing to discourage U.S. manufacturers from moving their factories to TPP countries with weak climate regulations. This damages both U.S. jobs and our efforts to address climate change.
4. The TPP doesn’t strengthen international labor rights protections. There are extensive, well-documented labor problems in at least four TPP countries (Mexico, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia),3 but the administration has not committed to requiring all countries to be in full compliance with international labor standards before they get benefits under the agreement. Worker rights obligations have never been fully enforced under existing free trade agreements, which have provided too much discretion for worker complaints to be delayed for years or indefinitely (e.g., Honduras, Guatemala). A progressive TPP would eliminate this shortcoming, not repeat it. Given that no administration has ever self-initiated labor enforcement under a free trade agreement, any promise to “strongly enforce” the TPP should be met with skepticism.
5. The TPP could allow public services to be permanently outsourced. Public services such as sanitation, transit and utilities should be carved out of trade deals—but the TPP puts them at risk. The current TPP text does not ensure that governments can pull out of wasteful and failing public service privatization efforts without shelling out taxpayer dollars or otherwise compensating foreign firms or trading partners