Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal Is Reached

New York Times, By Jackie Calmes, October 5

Atlanta – The United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations on Monday agreed to the largest regional trade accord in history, a potentially precedent-setting model for global commerce and worker standards that would tie together 40 percent of the world’s economy, from Canada and Chile to Japan and Australia.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership still faces months of debate in Congress and will inject a new flash point into both parties’ presidential contests.

But the accord — a product of nearly eight years of negotiations, including five days of round-the-clock sessions here — is a potentially legacy-making achievement for President Obama, and the capstone for his foreign policy “pivot” toward closer relations with fast-growing eastern Asia, after years of American preoccupation with the Middle East and North Africa.

Mr. Obama spent recent days contacting world leaders to seal the deal. Administration officials have repeatedly pressed their contention that the partnership would build a bulwark against China’s economic influence, and allow the United States and its allies — not Beijing — to set the standards for Pacific commerce.

Washington Post: Deal reached on Pacific Rim trade pact in boost for Obama economic agenda
The Guardian: TPP deal: US and 11 other countries reach landmark Pacific trade pact
New York Times: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Accord Explained
Vox: The just-completed Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, explained
Ian Welsh: Free Trade Is Elites Betraying Their Own Populations

The odd thing about free trade is that it is both meaningless and vastly important. Comparative advantage, which is supposed to be a straight win for both trading partners, is a rounding error even when it works–if you don’t have full employment; it’s essentially meaningless. However, the ways in which free trade (and the free capital flows that are part of what we call “free” trade) is used to systematically undercut wages and working conditions and destroy environmental safeguards, make trade, as we practice it, vastly important.

RT: ‘TPP would cost lives’: WikiLeaks unveils full intellectual property chapter
Wikileaks: TPP Treaty: Intellectual Property Rights Chapter – 5 October 2015
RT: What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership and why you should care, October 5
Boing Boing: Leaked (final?) TPP Intellectual Property chapter spells doom for free speech online
Washington Post: How the controversy over drug prices could take down Obama’s massive trade deal… but won’t…

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  • I suspect it will matter a lot less than the US imagines. It’s a last-ditch attempt to control a rising part of the world, but I doubt it will succeed.

    The impending (within a decade?) fall of the Saudis
    The petrodollar being nibbled away (and decline is accelerating).
    Gas pipelines not controlled by US & our flunkies.
    Disruption due to Global Warming.
    The US economy is about to undergo another burst bubble (fracking).

    There is a growing rift within the ‘body politic’ which could eventually lead to the country becoming ungovernable, a well-camouflaged ‘failed state’ in which half the people just ignore the official government and replace it with local ‘authority’ while the other half hunkers down in their shelters waiting for some Gay Muslim Wetback Commie to take way their guns and bibles.

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