Trans-pacific partnership, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

BoingBoing had quite a few articles against the Trans-pacific partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). It now seems that they are both dead.
Does anybody an idea why the new US administration changed its mind 180° on the particular subject of free trade?

From what I understand, neither of the agreements were particularly centered towards increasing free trade; most of the countries involved already had free trade agreements already in place. The treaties were labeled as “free trade” agreements, but were really aimed towards reducing consumer protections and the ability of governments to regulate multinational companies, in order to boost corporate profits further. So “changing their mind on the subject of free trade” might be a bit inaccurate.

As to why the administration is willing to appear anti-free-trade by cancelling these agreements: Trump’s line on the campaign was that America wasn’t benefiting enough from TPP specifically, and free trade agreements in general, and that they need to be renegotiated so that America benefited more (he seems to be tied to “zero-sum” thinking, so if someone else is benefiting from the deal, the US must be losing out).


That is even more confusing. Now you are telling me they “changed their minds on the subject of boosting corporate profits”. Why would they do that?

My impression is that it’s pretty much just 45’s populism, and the rest of the GOP are just taking one for team scumbag by copping it.

Trump is opposed in principle to multilateral agreements. He is so simple minded he thinks all agreements should be unilateral and pursued from a position of strength to exploit (which fits his Real Estate experience). He’s not really a very deep thinker. Also, the TPP was seen in terms of NAFTA in the Midwest (who imagine NAFTA is why industrial jobs largely replaced by automation disappeared), and since it was hated, it was useful to campaign against.

TPP did have issues and I’m glad it was dropped, though it wasn’t dropped out of any thoughtful policy analysis, just a poorly informed knee-jerk that accidentally happened to hit a target that needed a kick.


Surely you guys know that negotiations are already under way for the TPTIP, the Trans-pacific Trade and Investment Partnership, which seeks to expand upon the previous efforts?


I don’t know whether Trump is so simple minded as you believe or whether he has a plan which we both have not realized. Maybe we should not assume he is stupid. In any case, he is surrounded by people who certainly are not stupid.

And these new treaty is believable now that the US cancelled the old one at such short notice?

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In terms of the TPP, I’m pretty sure the main guiding principle was that he said he’d back out of it since it played well with the protectionist base and that he’s obsessed with raging on multilateral “deals,” especially any made by Obama, who he’s childishly demonized for the last eight years. The biggest losers in the TPP were Chinese industry, the rights of individual Americans, and the little people screwed by “trade” agreements that enabled more capital flight - none of those were noted by Trump. He primarily claimed killing it would help American jobs, where its biggest problems were largely orthogonal to jobs, in the short term not passing TPP will kill maybe a thousand or so US jobs (largely built on the expectation of its passage and opening Japanese and other markets), and in the conservative long term estimates noT passing probably cost the US 10-20k (crappy) jobs.

So far my working theory has been ‘simple-minded.’ His stream of fumbles, political failures, and incoherent rambling seem to back that up. Smart presidents don’t rant at ego-boosting rallies about a fake disaster in Sweden they heard about on Fox News, then double down when the majority of people are well aware they’re BSing. He’s mostly surrounded by B-listers. Bannon is evil but has a middling intellect. Conway, Miller, Kushner, Carson, and many others around him are embarrassingly stupid. Even Pence is no rocket scientist, even if he’s more cunning and talented at effecting his evil plans. Beyond that, he’s set hist staff against each other in competition. The one saving grace of this horror show so far has been that they’ve been really ineffective at using the many powerful tools at their disposal.

Maybe I’m wrong that he’s a dolt, but he and the people around him are dangerous regardless of whether they’re bright or not, and really far more dangerous if they’re as ignorant/incompetent as they seem.

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I assumed that people’s scepticism would be overwhelmed by their cynicism.
At least for a moment. :wink:

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