Anti-TPP Sentiment Spreads Within U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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In June 2016, I attended a Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting in a major metropolitan area, because the meeting featured a panel discussion on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. 

[Crista Huff| June 28, 2016 | Goodfellow]

I’m not much of a meeting person. The three hours of preparation, commuting, and sitting through the meeting could have been better spent at my desk, working! However, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a strong proponent of the TPP, so I figured I’d better go and get a first-hand view of how they’re applying lipstick to this pig.

The three-person panel was made up of a law school professor who has studied international trade for decades; a Democratic representative of my state’s AFL-CIO; and a Democratic former-staffer of a prominent former Congressperson. I was glad to see the AFL-CIO representative, knowing that she’d be anti-TPP; and was otherwise expecting a pro-TPP bias to the panel.

Imagine my surprise when both the law professor and the AFL-CIO representative argued against the TPP, with their opinions encouraging TPP hostility among most of the meeting’s attendees! I actually felt bad for the former Congressional staffer on the panel. I can’t say that there was a single person in the room who vocally concurred with a pro-TPP stance.

This was a fascinating meeting, and well worth the time it carved out of my workday. I was able to glean that while the U.S. Chamber of Commercefully supports the TPP, its local members do not walk in lockstep like robots. Panelists and attendees expressed concerns about foreign currency manipulation, trade deficits, U.S. sovereignty, job loss, and the untenable nature of a 5,544-page piece of legislation.

I continue to oppose the TPP because it is not expected to increase U.S. GDP nor employment; it does not address chronic problems associated with past trade agreements; and it’s got an overriding global governance theme that can only be ignored to the detriment of American sovereignty.

 


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