Is the TPP signed?

October 7, 2015

No! Far from it. What has been signed is merely an agreement of understanding by the member nations who comprise the signatories of the TPP to eventually sign off on the final draft of the TPP.

Since the final draft is still in a state of suspended animation and will probably remain permafrost in perpetuity.

So at the end of the day what these people who claim that the TPP is now finally a reality really have – is a worthless document that roughly has as much significance as a roll of toilet paper….which incidentally in the parlance geo politics simply means – the TPP is as dead as can possibly be….so don’t worry, the status quo ante will rule the day.

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‘There are many so called ‘leaders’ who hail the TPP as historic. They refer to it as a nascent for rapid economic growth in an age when business landscape seems lethargic.

But this to me is simply old dressed up as new – the world has seen this before in the guise of the EEC, WTO, Nafta etc etc. They said that as well! All these initiatives that carry the appellation of ‘free trade’ all once claimed that the this will herald more growth….improve lives….empower people….save the planet blah blah blah!

But they have all proven to be at best chimeric and at worst a reversal to the very idea that such ‘free trade’ agreements can actually bring renewed prosperity to the masses.

Truth is they all benefit only the oligarchs of corporations, special interest groups and vested interested who are really only interested in perpetuating their economic primacy at the expense of the ordinary man.

There is of course the trite argument that lower trade barriers increase growth, but again this story is missing the precondition of a convincing plot that gives every narrative a sense of realism. The fact remains if the imperative is really the promotion of free trade, then it would hardly be necessary to do it thru the TPP. It’s highly unnecessary! As I can argue most of the barriers between the countries in the new pact have already been removed. The TPP will not do much to lower barriers to trade further, certainly not between the US and Canada or Mexico since Nafta already did that. Neither will it revivify trade between the US or any other country with ASEAN either because there already exist free trade agreements outside the preamble of the TPP. Besides the US already currently has free trade agreements with six of the 11 TPP countries! The existing tariff barriers with Japan and New Zealand are already so low than any further improvements can only yield fractionally gains.

It’s even conceivable the optimism concerning the TPP is misplaced, precisely because it suffers from failure of imagination in so far as it doesn’t take stock of many aspects of the deal that are likely to slow growth in the long term….dumb down innovation and creativity and worst of all hollow out the intellectual capital that once made the USA a great country.

You know I am going to digress only because I feel it’s necessary to illustrate the deeper meaning of what I trying so very hard to convey here. I happen to be a proud owner of a litespeed mountain bike, that carries a proudly made in American sticker.

Litespeed is a U.S. bicycle manufacturer founded by the Lynskey family in 1986 in Ooltewah – mind you where I am located in the world, it’s cost and arm and leg to own such mountain bike. But as an informed consumer I am willing to pay the premium because I actually believe the tradition of craftsmanship, the community that supports that sort of innovative culture and most importantly the master and apprentice heritage that enables to firms to produce such high quality products needs to be nurtured and even encouraged if people like me are going to continue riding well engineered mountain bikes, instead of just buying stuff that’s welded together by folk who don’t even know what it takes to fabricate a great mountain bike and just sold for $99 in wall mart and provably manufactured in China.

That if you must know is the bane of ‘tree trade’. All it seems to do is hollow out not only the culture of innovation, creativity, dignity of labor and whole idea of the pursuit of excellence – where everything just gets dumbed down to a mediocrity and to me that can never be progress…not even if it comes with the promise of economic growth.

And that’s what free trade is all about – it’s about chasing the buck….price leadership…cost savings…supply chain efficiency. And that to me just doesn’t seem to make much sense at all.

(But I have to stop here, because I tired…I will write again when I can)

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