Scott Sinclair, director of the Trade and Investment Research Project under the auspices of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, spoke recently at the Tatamagouche Centre on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its implications. Twenty-five people were in attendance.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim countries. The finalized proposal was signed in 2016 after seven years of negotiations. The TPP contains measures to lower both non-tariff and tariff barriers to trade and to establish investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms. The partnership is scheduled for ratification in 2017.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is a left leaning think tank and so it is not surprising that Sinclair is opposed to the deal. He claimed the partnership is designed to further America’s corporate ambitions. In doing so, it will place restrictions on how state owned industries are allowed to operate. He claims it will weaken food safety standards, increase drug costs, subject workers to intensified global competition, accelerate climate change and make “buy local” initiatives vulnerable.
“The free trade agenda has been hijacked by special interests that are trying to deliver services privately that are now provided by governments,” he said.
Because Sinclair’s talk fell hard on the heels of the recent American election, the discussion quickly turned to the possible effects of Donald Trump’s presidency. Trump’s victory was partly due to his opposition to the TPP. He has vowed to withdraw from the TPP and to appoint tough and smart trade negotiators to fight on behalf of American workers.
“The TPP is in limbo and faces a very uncertain future and it will go into a deep freeze,” Sinclair said. He acknowledged that this is a good thing but argued that Trump’s win was a pyrrhic victory for working people. Some have said that the forgotten men and women, the so-called deplorables without possibility of redemption, the people who built America and who are fed up to the teeth by political correctness and the condescension heaped on them by the elites, voted for Trump.
According to Sinclair they were manipulated.
“Tax cuts, deregulation, support for coal mining and runaway climate change will do more harm than his trade policies,” Sinclair maintained.