Man at His Best

Farewell, TPP. For Now

Hello standalone trade agreements.

BY Jason S Ganesan | Sep 28, 2016 | Money & Career

Wikipedia Commons

Given that Donald Trump used TPP as a stick to beat Hilary Clinton with in the US presidential debate, it’s probably safe to say that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is about as dead as the ferret Trump’s hair is weaved from.  

Trump reiterated Clinton’s previous line of it being the “gold standard” of trade deals, before she responded with: “Well, Donald, I know you live in your own reality, but those are not the facts. The facts are I did say I hoped it would be a good deal, but once it was negotiated, which I was not responsible for, I concluded it wasn’t.”

Nice jab, but also nice dodge. Clinton did in fact say the TPP was the gold standard in 2012. To be fair, the little ugly details of the deal hadn’t fully been worked out yet at that point, and even Clinton as Secretary of State couldn’t read the thing in its entirety (although then why proclaim it as the gold standard at all?).

But truthiness of the debate aside, or who did better (Clinton, obviously), the fact that Clinton’s previous support of TPP will sit alongside pneumonia and emails in the Republican arsenal is in all likelihood lights out for the trade deal.

So all good for us, right? We get to keep our labour and environmental protections, and safeguard the sanctity of the legislative branch of government?

Maybe not.

According to Forbes, Malaysia and Vietnam are “hedging their bets” and making standalone deals with TPP member countries, to preserve the spirit of the agreement. If not the letter: as Ministry of International Trade and Industry secretary-general Datuk J. Jayasiri said, the deal is technically still alive if at least six member countries ratify it before the February 18 deadline--whether or not the US is one of the six.

A TPP without the US could potentially be worse than one with. The anti-exploitation tenets of the deal might not survive without its ‘champion’ (by default).