In Hanoi in 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promoted passage of the most far-reaching trade agreement ever, encompassing many Pacific Rim countries. Her pitch for the Trans-Pacific Partnership heralded lower trade barriers and improved labor conditions and environmental protections, echoing promises by NAFTA promoters 20 years earlier. Even as Secretary Clinton stated concern about free expression online, and pronounced that, “Democracy and prosperity go hand-in-hand,” the backroom dealings of corporate lobbyists have written the TPP to challenge everything from Net Neutrality to democratic process and state sovereignty. Wholesale powers granted to corporations would permit them to sue governments for alleged lost profits, and to overturn regulatory laws intended to protect people and the environment.
On signing NAFTA in 1994, President Bill Clinton forecast increased exports and “good-paying American jobs.” Twenty years later, Global Trade Watch reports a 450 percent increase in the U.S. trade deficit, resulting in the export of almost one million jobs, and downward pressure on wages.
The Clinton Global Initiative meeting in Denver June 23-25 professes the need to redress economic inequity. A beginning would be renunciation of the TPP, another bad trade deal written for the benefit of the one percent.