The draft pact includes NAFTA-style foreign investor rules that facilitate job offshoring by removing many of the risks and costs of relocating U.S. production to low-wage countries. Among TPP negotiating countries is Vietnam, the lower-cost offshoring alternative to China.
Has the U.S. now conceded to Vietnam the right to have duty-free treatment for apparel products assembled from Chinese textiles and other inputs so that Vietnam is now participating in closing up negotiations on other chapters, which it has not done to date?
“The fact that entire chapters of the TPP remain without even a draft text to fight over won’t be a popular talking point in Brunei, given that the Obama administration is claiming that the agreement is almost done while in reality negotiations will just continue on in even greater secrecy,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “Apparently, the response to the growing opposition to the TPP among the U.S. Congress and the public here, and legislators and the public in other countries, is to drag negotiations even further underground and claim a deal is almost done.”
It’s difficult to talk about the substance of a deal that cannot be seen. For 19 rounds and more than three years of TPP negotiations, the U.S. public and even most members of Congress have been kept in the dark on the TPP’s content, which could rewrite swaths of non-trade domestic policies. Those of us tracking the secretive deal have had to rely on rumors, vague characterizations, and a few leaked texts to get an idea of its sweeping substance.
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