New Report Shows Broken Promises from Past Trade Deals Compound Difficult Road Ahead for TPP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) faces a difficult road ahead.
The New York Times notes that while “officials involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks have maintained optimism that a deal might come to fruition, and emphasized their intention to see it through … a document published this week by WikiLeaks indicates that there might be more rifts behind the scenes than they have let on, showing many areas of disagreement as of November.”
With so many major issues the countries are still fighting over, TPP negotiators had to acknowledge that, once again, they will fail to meet a self-imposed deadline to complete the accord. Compounding the uncertain prospects of the negotiations is the growing skepticism from key Members of Congress of both parties about both the “fast track,” take-it-or-leave-it process, as well as details about the potential trade pact itself. Many of these concerns are borne out of the past broken promises associated with major trade pacts.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has developed a new report, “The Trans-Pacific Partnership: the Latest in a Broken Record of Broken Promises,” that catalogs the litany of past broken promises made on behalf of free trade agreements (FTAs). The CWA report includes a brief overview of some of the major broken promises – such as failed promises regarding jobs, trade surpluses, human rights, and labor standards – and provides five case studies illustrating the specific broken promises associated with the trade agreements with Mexico, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala and Bahrain.
“The key is to stop Congress from negating their job in this process by passing fast-track trade authority because, like nearly every other trade agreement that’s been negotiated by the U.S. in the past 20 years, TPP isn’t concerned with U.S. workers or jobs,” said CWA President Larry Cohen. “Every other nation starts out with jobs and the economy as their priorities. We need Congress to refocus our priorities on the well-being of working families and stop the obsession with special breaks to global corporate interests.”
The report notes:
“Based on our 20-year experience with the broken promises made on behalf of earlier trade deals, it is clear that we should proceed very cautiously with the TPP – the largest trade deal in U.S. history. We must have a rigorous and open debate about the TPP and reject attempts to “fast track” the TPP in Congress.
“We have heard all these promises before in support of previous free trade agreements (FTAs). A review of the actual impacts of these FTAs proves that these promises are worthless. In fact, trade agreements have failed to deliver on promises to create good U.S. jobs, trade surpluses, improved workers’ and human rights, and a cleaner and more sustainable environment.
“There is nothing in the TPP —or in the contentions of its proponents —to show that it will be different than the previous record of broken promises. Indeed, the TPP will be worse because it expands and extends the failed policies of past trade agreements to a region that accounts for 38% of total world economic activity.”