Trans Pacific Partnership: The Next Big Free Trade Mistake?

Despite a low public profile, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is poised to become the biggest free trade agreement since NAFTA. The massive trade deal, which the White House hopes to conclude by year’s end, would link the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Also poised to join the global pact are the mega-economies of Japan, Mexico and Canada.

While the U.S. Trade Representative has praised the TPP as “economic stimulus at no cost to the taxpayers” and a “high-standard, 21st century agreement,” others are far less enthusiastic.

Calling it “The latest act in the tragic farce of American trade policy,” Economic Policy Institute (EPI) founder Jeff Faux dismisses the pact’s claimed objective of creating a level playing field for American workers and products. “Given that with every trade agreement, imports grow faster than exports, more U.S. jobs are shipped overseas, and American wages drop to meet the increased global competition, the argument is transparently absurd,” said Faux. “It reveals that for the U.S. governing class, the notion of a level playing field for American workers is a fig leaf to justify the true economic purpose of U.S. trade policy – profit opportunities for multinational investors.”

For a better look at what the TPP could mean for American workers, read Pacific Illusions, an eye-opening special edition of ‘The American Prospect.’