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14

DECEMBER 2015

|

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

unreported and unregulated fishing rep-

resent an important opportunity to turn

the tide for the better on these issues on a

global scale.

Still, the Obama administration has a

steep uphill battle on its hands. A simple

search on Google or look through Twitter

or Facebook reveal news article after news

article, video after video, meme after

meme, knocking the TPP. It seems interest

groups representing all walks of life have a

reason to hate the deal.

Official statements by Ambassador

Froman and President Obama posted

to USTR and White House websites—

however attractive and interactive—are

unlikely to be enough to convince voters

that the TPP is not just a Trojan Horse for

big business.

The clock is ticking, Mr. Obama. You

need a full-court, public-relations press

on this one.

—Maria C. Livingston, Associate Editor

Report Critiques

Public Diplomacy

and Broadcasting

T

he Department of State and the

Broadcasting Board of Governors

must dedicate more resources to audi-

ence research, analytics, and process and

impact evaluations.

major corporations,

has undermined the

agreement’s credibility.

Its details were finally

released on Nov. 5,

a full month after its

announcement, and

are now undergoing a

90-day review before

facing an up-or-down

vote in Congress.

For proponents, the

timing of the deal—the

economic component

of President Barack Obama’s pivot to

Asia—couldn’t be more inconvenient. It’s

anybody’s guess as to whether the Obama

administration has what it takes to con-

vince enough Democrats and Republi-

cans to gamble on the agreement’s merits

during an election year.

Already, all three Democratic presi-

dential candidates have disavowed the

TPP, citing a general lack of protections

for American workers.

There is a lot to unpack in the pages of the deal, but there are many positive attri-

butes to be sure. For instance, the pact

eliminates or reduces tariffs on goods

traded between partner countries—a

major plus for U.S. exporters who cur-

rently face astronomical barriers (some

agricultural exports face tariffs as high as

700 percent!).

Non-tariff advantages include strong

labor and human rights protections

requiring parties to allow workers the

right to organize and bargain collectively.

It also aims to eliminate forced and child

labor and obliges TPP countries to adopt

minimumwage laws and occupational

safety standards.

Even the environment benefits: provi-

sions to combat wildlife trafficking (e.g.

elephants and pangolins), the illegal

harvest and timber trade, and illegal,

Historic Trade Deal

Is a Tough Sell

O

n Oct. 5, U.S. Trade Representa-

tive Michael Froman sat on a stage

in Atlanta, Georgia, with counterparts

from 11 other Pacific Rim nations and

announced that they had reached a deal

on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The announcement was a milestone

in an historic five-year process, during

which the United States participated in

more than 20 formal and informal nego-

tiating rounds to arrive at the 30-chapter

trade pact.

Touted as the largest regional trade

agreement in history, the TPP involves

countries whose collective economies

equal roughly 40 percent of global gross

domestic product. The bloc of 12 coun-

tries comprises the United States, Aus-

tralia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico,

Peru, Vietnam, Chile, Brunei, Singapore

and New Zealand.

According to USTR, “[The TPP is] a

high-standard, ambitious, comprehensive

and balanced agreement that will promote

economic growth; support the creation

and retention of jobs; enhance innova-

tion, productivity and competitiveness;

raise living standards; reduce poverty in

our countries; and promote transparency,

good governance, and enhanced labor and

environmental protections.”

But, as it turns out, the TPP may not

be all rainbows and butterflies. Richard

Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, has

said the deal is “not worthy of the Ameri-

can people and the American worker.”

Doctors Without Borders claims the TPP

is “the most harmful trade agreement

ever for access to medicines,” while the

citizen opposition group Expose the TPP

is calling it the “dirtiest trade deal you’ve

never heard of.”

The fact that the negotiations were

done in secret, and in consultation with

TALKING POINTS

DAVID BROSSARD/CREATIVE COMMONS

The humble pangolin, a poster child for the scourge of wildlife

trafficking, is expected to be a beneficiary of the TPP.