This is a bad deal that will put further downward pressure on real wages which have gone 40 years since reaching their peak, that will undermine governments’ ability to regulate, and will strengthen a small group of pharmaceutical, software, entertainment, and publishing companies at the expense of the rest of us.
Some might consider this a fair trade all the weaponry the United States is deploying near the Korean peninsula, but the United States is asking South Korea to join the TPP. The issue is Japan.
South Korea, the world’s 15th largest economy, has been much more aggressive than Japan in negotiating free trade agreements, having already struck deals with the United States and the EU.
“I think the Korean government is very closely examining the possibility of joining the TPP,” but is already in a comfortable position because of the pacts it has negotiated, said Gheewan Kim, economics minister at South Korea’s embassy in Washington.
At the same time, South Korea shares the U.S. interest in negotiating a deal that would open Japan’s market to more foreign goods, Kim said.
Cutler said Washington was “working very hard with Japan” on its bid to join the TPP, but declined to say how close the United States was to a decision.
It is possible that the TPP countries could welcome Japan into the talk as early as a regional trade ministers’ meeting this month in Surabaya, Indonesia.
“If I was Korea and I saw Japan at the TPP negotiating table, I’d want to be there and defend my interests,” said Fred Bergsten, director emeritus at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Former U.S. trade officials at a separate event on Wednesday cast doubt on the goal of finishing the three-year-old regional trade talks this year.
“While it’s true that meaningful progress has been made over the last 16 rounds, the negotiations are not close to conclusion by any reasonable measure,” Jay Eizenstat, a former U.S. trade negotiator, said at a Washington International Trade Association event.
Even if Japan stays out of the talks, “I think it would be improbable to conclude negotiations this year. With the involvement of Japan, … it’s optimistic to think they will be concluded by the end of next year,” Eizenstat said.
I don’t know what crack Bergsten is smoking, because obviously he hasn’t dealt with South Korea’s leftists when they decide to stymie any measure they perceive would benefit Japan. But then again, TPP is all about undermining democratic processes and giving corporations more lobbying leverage (via The Majority Report).
Maybe, this is all irrelevant, already.