Why the TPP is a better trade agreement than you think

by on April 27, 2015 at 12:54 am in Current Affairs, Economics, Law | Permalink

In a word, Vietnam.  Vietnam has about ninety million people and a relatively low per capita income, below by 2k by some measures.  It liberalized tariffs a good deal upon WTO accession, but since then has done some backsliding.  It has large numbers of state-owned enterprises, and its policies toward such enterprises could use more transparency and predictability, as indeed TPP would bring.  Most generally, Vietnam is not today a free country.  Bringing Vietnam into TPP would further ensure their attachment to a broadly liberal global trading order.  TPP also would bring free(r) labor unions to Vietnam.

Tuong Lai writes (see the first link above):

But Vietnam cannot play its significant geopolitical role until it fully develops economically and further liberalizes politically. And adopting the T.P.P.’s requirements — free trade unions, reduced state participation in the economy, greater transparency — will help Vietnam along that route.

Many potential TPP signers still have significant tariffs against Vietnamese textiles?  Here is Jack Sheehan:

Vietnam is set to gain the most from the TPP due to the potential for a greater share of the apparel and footwear market, particularly in the US and Japan.

In 2012, Vietnam exported almost $7bn (£4.2bn) worth of apparel to the US, which accounted for 34% of US apparel imports. Vietnam also exported $2.4bn worth of footwear.

The TPP will allow Vietnam to export apparel to the US at a 0% tariff rate, which will make Vietnamese exports even more competitive.

Here is an assessment from the Peterson Institute that Vietnam will be the biggest gainer from TPP.  Do you get that, progressives?  Poorest country = biggest gainer.  Isn’t that what we are looking for?  And if you are a deontologist, Vietnam is a country we have been especially unjust to in the past.

Yes, I am familiar with the IP and tech criticisms of TPP, and I agree with many of them.  But if you add those costs up, in utilitarian terms I doubt if they amount to more than a fraction of the potential benefit for the ninety million people of Vietnam.  TPP is more of a “no brainer” than a close call.

Most generally, one of the big dangers today is “The Great Unraveling of Globalization.”  Is the passing or the striking down of TPP more likely to contribute to that trend?  People, you are allowed only three guesses on that one.

1 Steve Sailer April 27, 2015 at 1:15 am

What’s this going to do for our fellow American citizens with below median IQs?

2 Doug April 27, 2015 at 4:44 am

Most people at the left end of the bell curve either A) don’t work and collect benefits or B) work in the service sector which is relatively unaffected by global trade. Maybe 30 years ago manufacturing and industrial jobs constituted a lot of the 85-100 IQ population, but increasingly sophistication, complexity and automation means those jobs tend to be the domain of relatively skilled labor with modest cognitive requirements. The typical Boeing plant worker today is somebody with at 105-110 IQ, strong spacial reasoning skills and high motivation.

3 chuck martel April 27, 2015 at 6:35 am

“those jobs tend to be the domain of relatively skilled labor with modest cognitive requirements.”

You must mean that dumb people with some training make up the workforce of millwrights, plant operators, etc. If the population with an IQ above 105 is so smart why do they need to hire the intellectually bereft to fix their kitchen faucets and repair their fancy cars?

4 Dan Weber April 27, 2015 at 8:00 am

1. He didn’t say “dumb people are mill wrights.” He said “productive people with under-100 IQ work as mill wrights.”

2. There is a cultural bias against mill wright jobs, despite their decent pay. (The only jobs Jews could historically get was banking because they were locked out of all the high-status jobs.)

3. Someone with a high IQ probably has a comparative advantage that means he should get the job demanding his high IQ.

4. This “if they are so smart, why do they need to hire someone else” is insipid on its face.

5 Sam Haysom April 27, 2015 at 10:38 am

What high-status jobs? Duke, earl, duke of earl? Everyone but a tiny fraction of society was locked out of those jobs. It’s funny because the number one job of the medieval world, low paid agricultural worker, is now a job so low in status American’s won’t do it apparently.

6 Steve Sailer April 27, 2015 at 7:34 pm

“(The only jobs Jews could historically get was banking because they were locked out of all the high-status jobs.)”

Yeah, because being a serf and doing stoop labor in the fields was what the average medieval Jew had his heart set on, and it was only virulent Christian discrimination that forced him into banking, international trade, tax-farming, and other low status jobs.

7 Lily April 27, 2015 at 5:26 pm

My husband fixes our cars and the faucet when he has the tools and the time. If you convert his GRE score to a comparable SB-V score, you could probably estimate his IQ to be around 140. He certainly could learn to do most skilled labor jobs, but he’s busy working 80+ hours per week as an engineer in the tech industry. It’s more time efficient and sometimes even more economical for him just to hire somebody else to do certain jobs.

8 BC April 27, 2015 at 6:07 am

It sounds like it will help greatly in keeping clothing costs down, and far more below-median Americans buy clothes than make them.

Tyler linked a while ago to an article showing that the poor have faced higher “inflation” than the weathly: [http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30477699], mainly due to higher relative price increases of basics: food and energy. The poor are already facing enough assaults on their cost of living: food (anti-GMO, anti-fast food), energy (gas taxes, anti-fracking), retail services (anti-Walmart). No need to add clothing to the mix through protectionism.

Cost inequality doesn’t seem to get nearly the attention that income inequality does. Yet, with all the difficulties in finding helpful interventions to raise incomes, it seems like there is much low hanging fruit on the cost side simply by avoiding damaging interventions.

9 Steve Sailer April 27, 2015 at 6:41 am

Clothes are relatively trivial these days. What really goes up in price is land near jobs and “good schools.”

NAFTA facilitated an enormous increase in immigration, which led to the Housing Bubble/Bust in CA, AZ, NV, and FL. Will TPP do something similar?

10 Frames April 27, 2015 at 9:56 am

Stop staring your opinions like they’re facts. In your mind, start prefacing every one of subjective impressions with, “As I perceive it…”. Your less intelligent than you believe yourself to be.

11 NPW April 27, 2015 at 11:17 am

Sailer has a lot of opinons, but this seems to be easily disprovable if it is wrong and I see no attempt to do so.

12 Steve Sailer April 27, 2015 at 7:35 pm

Indeed.

13 Cliff April 27, 2015 at 11:10 am

How would it?

14 Lily April 27, 2015 at 5:31 pm

Clothing is already insanely cheap (assuming you’re buying something to cover yourself, not name brands that are more of a status symbol than a functional piece of apparel). The Goodwill throws away 90% of clothing donated, and even charities in Africa have so much old clothing they don’t know what to do with it.

What is really bankrupting American families is the costs of Housing, Healthcare, Childcare, and Education. If the TPP can make these more affordable while preserving American jobs, then it’s probably not such a bad thing. Otherwise, forget it.

15 Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta May 8, 2015 at 2:11 pm

“What is really bankrupting American families is the costs of Housing, Healthcare, Childcare, and Education. If the TPP can make these more affordable while preserving American jobs, then it’s probably not such a bad thing.”

These are all non-tradables. Furthermore, certification and licensure limits entry and increasing supply in these professions.

I’d also like to see how more imports impacts this, but I’m pessimistic. Lower prices at Wal-Mart for cheap clothes won’t exactly make homes in “good school districts” more affordable. They also won’t make the surgeon’s medical school loans any easier to pay off and the hospitals aren’t going to lower fees.

16 Moar April 27, 2015 at 6:48 am

Lower apparel prices and moar opportunities for the young in the military.

17 DJF April 27, 2015 at 8:09 am

That is not the important question for important people.

The important question is how much richer will the people in international finance and trade get if we further increase international trade. Since 1960 the percent of GDP that involves foreign trade and finance has gone from 8% to over 30% with a corresponding increase in the wealth and power of the international finance and trade people and so will this agreement continue with that all important trend?

18 Frames April 27, 2015 at 9:32 am

What bastion of Internet douchbaggery have I stumbled upon today? Being a comment section regular certainly isn’t an indication of a high IQ.

19 AcidDC April 27, 2015 at 12:37 pm

Yeah, what will Steve Sailer do?

20 Brenton April 27, 2015 at 2:40 pm

So witty. You contribute greatly to the discussion. Thank you for joining us.

21 Steve Sailer April 27, 2015 at 1:18 am

Here’s a question I never see discussed anymore: What’s the average tariff in the U.S.?

I recall a Tim Harford book a decade ago admitting it was down to 2.9% (I believe). In other words, the free traders had pretty much already won a colossal victory and all this stuff just represents mopping up operations, bayoneting the wounded hiding in the brush.

22 Sir Anon April 27, 2015 at 2:23 am

You should keep in mind that with the size of the American economy, 2.9 % is still quite a bit of money.

23 Doug April 27, 2015 at 4:37 am

Robin Hanson had a link a few years back (sorry, I’ll have to search for it later), documenting that non-tariff trade barriers (e.g. quotas) constituted at least twice the impact of tariffs themselves. I think if anything this is conservative. There are many ways that markets are protected from foreign competition. For example non-domestic carriers are prohibited from flying domestic air routes in the US.

24 affenkopf April 27, 2015 at 7:07 am

When it comes to trade today tariffs are less of a problem than non-tariff barriers to trade. And these have been rising. Free traders are losing.

25 Axa April 27, 2015 at 8:12 am

I remember than the average US sugar price is like 100% higher that World sugar price. This is not a tariff but you still pay.

26 Paul Zrimsek April 27, 2015 at 10:33 am

Guess you can quit worrying about it then.

27 Harun April 27, 2015 at 3:52 pm

Tariffs are pretty low overall. Its also strange what still gets a tariff and what does not.

For 4.5% on slates and white boards. Why? Is that some national industry that needs help?

The non-tariff barriers are much higher, but I’ve never seen a trade deal reduce those I have dealt with, because they are all health and safety regs.

Examples:

Taiwan requires domestic language labeling on on all imported beers. They had ridiculous rules and fines such as beer being labeled as “type of beer” and if you just said “beer” you’d be in violation and be charged per bottle some huge amount. Heineken won in court, but there it is. Then Taipei decided it wanted expiry dates, not production + so many days, on the labels. Had to stop selling to one city just for this.

Taiwan starts trying to copy America and demands their FDA employee be flown over to America to approve each food item being imported. Good luck covering that expense for some speciality niche item.

I’ve also been involved in importing American bird seed to Taiwan. Each ingredient must be approved. The process takes 18 months. It took so long that they indeed reformed one portion to not apply!

But most Americans would probably imagine these rules to be perfectly acceptable and necessary. Which they are in some ways, but they are always arbitrarily enforced, changed, and then used to delay import shipment to discourage imports.

28 Harun April 27, 2015 at 3:54 pm

Examples of American barriers to trade would be California’s CARB rules on engineered wood, Prop 65 labeling, and the useless Lacey Act.

And these barriers sometimes don’t stop trade – they just generate friction and costs and do very little.

29 Ryan April 27, 2015 at 8:49 pm

Apparel tariffs (excluding imports under preferential programs) average in the mid-teens still and range as high as the low 30s for several significant categories. The fact that apparel still has relatively high tariffs is a big part of why they’re always the focus of free-trade discussion in the U.S. despite making up a fairly small share of imports.

30 Harun April 28, 2015 at 11:42 am

“excluding imports under preferential programs”

IIRC, it used to be that importers placed orders all over the world to get those. Quotas, if I recall. You had to apply for them.

How many imports are covered by these? Because if tariffs are high but don’t actually hit many shipments, then they don’t do much.

31 Tuna April 27, 2015 at 11:21 pm

Numbers like this are meaningless with comparison. Since it averages everything that is imported including a trillion bucks worth of crude (are tariffs levied on crude?), this seemingly low number may provide no insight.

Are there any figures from other countries to work with?

32 Tuna April 27, 2015 at 11:29 pm

A decade back the shrimp tariff was about 100%. It become so onerous that Vietnamese exporters started paying extortion fees to the US shrimping industry association to get them to back off on maintaining high tariffs.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB117833691780493233

33 Ramez Naam April 27, 2015 at 1:28 am

Excellent points.

That said, given that the US appears to be the driver of the IP and tech problems in the TPP, why not a TPP with Vietnam that drops those problematic issues that we ourselves are including?

I know very few liberals who oppose the TPP on the grounds of more trade. 95+% of the pushback I hear is about IP restrictions, driven by the US, and the secrecy of the process. You can view that as not specifically anti-TPP, but a wish for a better TPP.

34 Anonymous April 27, 2015 at 8:58 am

This is what I have also been wondering. Without the IP restrictions part, TPP is “a no-brainer”. So why bundle these controversial parts with what is otherwise a perfectly good trade agreement? Even without the IP part, I assume that all participants (including the US who is pushing it), would benefit from the agreement.

35 Frames April 27, 2015 at 9:39 am

A no-brainer? Maybe for you clowns that congregate on this low budget site.

36 Thomas B. May 3, 2015 at 5:45 pm

Yeah, I agree with all of Tyler’s positions except the conclusion.

Let’s say TPP has significant IP and tech problems. Say TPP would benefit the US and others, and Vietnam immensely, with benefits outweighing costs of the IP/tech issues. TPP would be better on net than the status quo.

Say all these things are true. Why would one be anti-TPP?

Imagine a trade agreement that improved global prosperity by roughly $10 Billion per year, but also contained a provision that dumped 3 Billion (of some resource) into the ocean. Such a trade agreement would be a net win, compared with the status quo. Still, the most coherent position would be to push for that agreement, minus the arbitrary dumping of utility into the ocean.

Tyler’s advocate might counter: you can always compare a proposal to its ideal and find it wanting. If that were a veto, no ideas would ever be pursued. Perfect is the enemy of the good!

That would be especially compelling under two conditions, neither of which applies here: (1) if this were our only shot, or (2), if killing a proposal were easier than revising it.

Under (1), if this were our only shot at this sort of trade deal, I’d say we should just take whatever we can get. If global leaders were about to turn hard against all trade agreements, then it might be worth it to just accept some bad consequences. I think the history of the world since maybe WWII shows though that civil servants and economic advisors “get it” (even if the public does not), such that trade agreements of increasing breadth and power are in our foreseeable future. In other words, even if IP objections tanked this TPP, Vietnam has another shot, and quickly. People like trade and won’t abandon opportunities to use it to improve the world.

Most specifically, though, if this TPP was tanked based on narrow criticisms about IP/tech provisions, then those who want the TPP would make the obvious fix and produce the revised version with improved IP provisions. Unless we actually face an ultimatum, which brings us to (2).

(2) Some agreements are “take it or leave it.” Some agreements offer such a precarious balance of compromises, that there is no hope of revision, you can only kill the entire proposal. If that were the case, then we should almost certainly just run the raw utilitarian calculus, and not bother voicing objections to individual provisions.

TPP is not such an agreement though. TPP is almost certainly happening. Advocacy in favor of or against TPP is very near to wasted breath. If voiced opposition to TPP based on complaints about IP theft were likely to scuttle the entire agreement, then such opposition would be dangerous indeed.

However, fortunately, the amount of effort and persuasion it requires to refine an agreement is generally lower than the amount of effort required to kill a proposed agreement. Sometimes though, to be persuasive, you have to motivate opposition to the entire agreement in order to have your specific critique addressed. If there was wide opposition to the IP provisions, but everyone said, “but our complaint is basically moot because there’s other good stuff there,” then those crafting the agreement would have no motivation for refinements. They would blissfully agree to keep dumping some of the gains into the ocean.

If, however, you motivate widespread opposition to the entire agreement based on one provision, maybe you eke out a compromise that makes the TPP far better.

Voiced opposition to TPP based on IP theft concerns has basically zero chance of scuttling the bill, but a small but larger chance of improving the IP provisions.

Ramez, you said it all this far more succinctly, and I liked the way you put it:
“You can view that as not specifically anti-TPP, but a wish for a better TPP.”

37 honkie please April 27, 2015 at 1:36 am

Tyler gets grief for not saying anything controversial, and today he comes out swinging. Of course he gets grief for that, too.

38 guest April 27, 2015 at 2:04 am

An economist arguing in support of a free trade agreement is controversial, when, in 1964?

39 Steve Sailer April 27, 2015 at 2:23 am

1845

40 prior_approval April 27, 2015 at 5:07 am

I’m sure that 1845 was only coincidentally chosen. Though a fine date to show how international trade was disrupted –

‘The Aberdeen Act of 1845 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (citation 8 & 9 Vict c. 122) passed during the reign Queen Victoria on August 9. The long title of the Act is An Act to amend an Act, intituled An Act to carry into execution a Convention between His Majesty and the Emperor of Brazil, for the Regulation and final Abolition of the African Slave Trade. The Act was proposed by British Foreign Secretary Lord Aberdeen.

The Act gave the Royal Navy authority to stop and search any Brazilian ship suspected of being a slave ship on the high seas, and to arrest slave traders caught on these ships. The Act stipulated that arrested slave traders could be tried in British courts. The law was designed to suppress the Brazilian slave trade, to make effective Brazilian laws and international treaties to end the Atlantic slave trade, that Brazil had signed since the 1820s, but never enforced.

The Act provoked outrage in Brazil, where it was seen as a violation of free market, freedom of navigation, as an affront Brazilian sovereignty and territorial integrity, and as an attempt to check Brazil’s rise as a world power.’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberdeen_Act

41 Steve Sailer April 27, 2015 at 6:43 am

1845 was chosen because it’s the year before 1846:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_Laws

42 E. Harding April 27, 2015 at 3:31 pm

prior_approval, mulp, and rayward are the scourges of this comments section.

43 foosion April 27, 2015 at 5:25 am

The problem is the TPP is not really a free trade agreement. It’s mostly an intellectual property protectionism and corporate dispute resolution (surrender our sovereignty) agreement.

Trotting out generic arguments about free trade misses the point.

44 carlolspln April 27, 2015 at 2:32 am

Nice framing.

1) As if the ‘ninety million people of Vietnam’ are going to see any gains from this [as opposed to the owners of capital, i.e. the factories producing the low cost textiles & footwear]

2) Interesting that the Peterson Institute [COUGH] doesn’t deign to show its work, in quantifying so called ‘benefits’. ‘Source: authors estimates’. You mean the authors, who don’t even merit a byline atop the ‘report’?

3) In your classic ‘watch the birdie’ style, you completely avoid the topic of its ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) mechanism. Under ISDS mechanisms virtually identical to those in the TPP and TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) Australia has already been sued by Philip Morris Asia for ‘lost profits’ from a plain packaging law passed by Australian Parliament that discourages tobacco use. Under the terms of the ISDS mechanism no reciprocation is required; there is no obligation that Philip Morris pay Australia for the increased health care costs from use of its tobacco products.

4) Last, there’s increasing cynicism about this ‘Down Under’. I wonder why? http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australians-may-pay-the-price-in-transpacific-partnership-free-trade-agreement-20131113-2xh0m.html

Ninety million Vietnamese peasants, can’t be wrong, correct? 😉

45 anon April 27, 2015 at 5:44 am

1. Doi Moi, trade liberalization and market reforms in Vietnam have already increased GDP and income for both rich and poor Vietnamese alike. Opening access to external markets is actually likely to benefit everyone in Vietnam. It is much more likely that Vietnam will benefit than Australia however if the TPP leads to the transfer of some wealth from Australia to Vietnam then that would decrease global inequality. Frankly had you in fact visited Vietnam prior to 1986 you could have seen just where the mood affiliation associated with your “owners of capital” rhetoric leads.

3. The phillip morris plain packaging case has not been decided and there is every indication the Australian government is going to win anyway. In general the purpose of ISDS is simply to provide recourse to companies when local governments make unreasonable changes to the law, for example if, in some alternate world, Prime Minister Clive Palmer decided to appropriate some successful business. It is hardly surprising that the parties to the TPP agreement have in place some process to provide dispute resolution and obviously from time to time companies will bring frivolous or greedy actions and even occasionally succeed. The same process can be observed in any legal jurisdiction. However, despite scaremongering ISDS type resolution systems have been operating for the last 30 years without destroying the world.

4. Linking to an opinion article which exhibits the same point of view you have already expressed doesn’t add anything. It is highly likely that Australia would sign the TPP regardless of which of the major parties was in power. The SMH published similar articles prior to the Australia-US free trade agreement.

46 prior_approval April 27, 2015 at 7:39 am

‘The phillip morris plain packaging case has not been decided and there is every indication the Australian government is going to win anyway.’

Luckily, more modern trade treaties are designed to prevent local governments from ever winning against corporate interests.

47 carlolspln April 27, 2015 at 8:10 am

“The SMH published similar articles prior to the Australia-US free trade agreement. ” [snip]

That would be the dual country FTA that resulted in australia paying $4-5B more pa for pharma (2005).

Troll harder, Yankee Doodle Dandy

48 Cliff April 27, 2015 at 11:16 am

You’re the only troll here, Aussie Doodle Dandy

49 fwiw April 27, 2015 at 12:01 pm

The only troll? Have you visited this comment section before?

This whole site is a giant troll-troll circle-jerk. I love it. It’s like ‘Real Housewives’ for nerds.

50 Careless April 27, 2015 at 2:42 pm

As if the ‘ninety million people of Vietnam’ are going to see any gains from this

Well, if they won’t, they won’t do any work to create the exports, so the deal will have no effect at all. Is that your prediction?

51 Harun April 27, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Vietnamese workers strike at foreign factories on a dime for any reason they want. One factory told me his workers went on strike because their rice wasn’t white enough. They did accept a pay raise in lieu of an improved rice coloration at the end of the day.

And if enough strike, the local government just raises the minimum wage.

Think about investing a couple million US dollars on an aluminum extrusion plant and then having wages double a year later. Okie dokie.

Its not just counting profits and ordering orphans to polish our monocles harder.

52 Larry Siegel April 28, 2015 at 3:54 am

The increase in per capita PPP GDP in Vietnam has already been massive, and Vietnam is now a lower middle income country, instead of lower income. If the owners of capital could have increased their profits by keeping wages down, they would have. So I guess they don’t have much power against the market.

I expect the rapid increase in Vietnamese standards of living to continue.

53 Todd Kreider April 29, 2015 at 12:37 pm

Vietnam was at $2,800 per capita/ppp in 2010.

This is lower middle income?

54 Steve Sailer April 27, 2015 at 3:23 am

NAFTA encouraged massive illegal immigration into the U.S. from Mexico, with disastrous effects during the 2000s Housing Bubble/Bust in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Florida. Will we see something similar with 90 million Vietnamese?

55 Axa April 27, 2015 at 8:18 am

Let’s look at some numbers on smuggler’s fees. Mexicans pay 3,000 to 4,000 USD to get transported into the US while asians pay around 26,000 USD. Of course, there will be a vietnamese bubble http://openborders.info/human-smuggling-fees/

56 E. Harding April 27, 2015 at 3:37 pm

NAFTA didn’t affect Mexico’s RGDP per capita much. It just made Mexico’s manufacturing sector much more competitive on world markets. The illegal immigration boom probably had more to do with movement away from the farm and the Mexican population boom in the 1960s.

57 Chip April 27, 2015 at 3:27 am

And yet we have rising wages plaguing China’s factories.

I’m sure the Vietnamese factory owners will do a better job insulating their workers from any benefits of free trade.

58 Just An Australian April 27, 2015 at 3:38 am

Right. no issues with a trade agreement. It’s the ISDS/IP stuff and the secrecy that’s the problem. Are you going to argue that those things are good for Vietnam too?

59 Tom Davies April 27, 2015 at 6:46 am

RTFA: “Yes, I am familiar with the IP and tech criticisms of TPP, and I agree with many of them. But if you add those costs up, in utilitarian terms I doubt if they amount to more than a fraction of the potential benefit [from other parts of the TPP] for the ninety million people of Vietnam.”

60 Tiago April 27, 2015 at 1:16 pm

Has anyone actually added those costs up? I’ve been trying to find a cost-benefit analysis for IP reform for a while now and never seem to find it.

61 Horhe April 27, 2015 at 4:33 am

How is Vietnam a country the US has been particularly unjust to? Whatever mistakes or bad judgment were made in entering the war, the US more than made up for it in horrendous loss of American lives, treasure, destabilization at home and the impact of the Vietnam War on the American culture and psyche.

Also, there should be a limit to these transfers from the poorest in rich societies to the richest in poor societies, if only to stem rising inequality at home. Maybe Vietnam is simply partly replacing China in US trade and all those jobs have been basically gone for a long time, but this is a principle that should be kept in mind. The poor and average in rich societies are being hit with a double whammy of loss of respectable, middle class jobs or the dream of accessing one, while getting competition from immigrants (legal or otherwise) for the lower paying jobs being created in their stead. Their being more prosperous than most other societies is not an effective argument when they notice the differences in financial security and social respectability at home, even though consumption is being enabled through other means. The mobility is only downward for the only people that should matter to a responsible polity, its own citizens, while gains are accruing only at the top.

62 Doug April 27, 2015 at 4:47 am

> How is Vietnam a country the US has been particularly unjust to?

Besides abruptly and totally canceling any and all of the security guarantees from Paris Peace Accords, allowing a genocidal communist regime to murder millions of people?

63 DJF April 27, 2015 at 7:32 am

The US cancelled the agreements with Vietnam because they had invaded South Vietnam and were murdering the people.

64 prior_approval April 27, 2015 at 7:33 am

If only Nixon had won the election in 1968, and his vision of “victorious peace” had guided American policy, instead of the “honorable peace” and the war being “de-Americanized,” or as the process became commonly known, “Vietnamization,” that resulted instead.

Because if Nixon had been elected, and then re-elected, he would certainly not have broken the Paris Peace Accords, right?

65 Thiago Ribeiro April 27, 2015 at 8:23 am

“Whatever mistakes or bad judgment were made in entering the war, the US more than made up for it in horrendous loss of American lives, treasure, destabilization at home and the impact of the Vietnam War on the American culture and psyche.”
You don’t understand the meaning of “unfair”. If your unfair behavior brings you problems, it doesn’t make said behavior fair. And I really love the “wathever mistakes and bad judgment” handwave.

66 Bob from Ohio April 27, 2015 at 2:42 pm

There are 55,000 reasons why Vietnam has been especially unjust to the US in the past.

Rewarding the dictatorial Vietnamese for its conquest of South Vietnam in violation of its treaty obligations is the last thing we should do.

67 Brenton April 27, 2015 at 2:43 pm

“the US more than made up for it in horrendous loss of American lives, treasure, destabilization at home and the impact of the Vietnam War on the American culture and psyche.” << I'm not sure you know what "made up for it" means.

68 E. Harding April 27, 2015 at 3:56 pm

“the US more than made up for it in horrendous loss of American lives, treasure, destabilization at home and the impact of the Vietnam War on the American culture and psyche.”
-Riight. 10% of the U.S. population died during those Soviet bombing raids on St. Louis, don’t you know? How many women did the Soviet-North Vietnamese-North Korean occupation force rape on U.S. soil, again?

69 prior_approval April 27, 2015 at 5:00 am

‘TPP also would bring free(r) labor unions to Vietnam.’

So, you won’t be eating with Scott Walker any time soon, right?

70 bob April 27, 2015 at 5:35 am

What about the corrupt intellectual “property” protection?

71 bob April 27, 2015 at 5:43 am

Please say something about IP and the TPP — the criminalization of file sharing, criminalizing breaking digital locks, extending the terms of copyright, worldwide criminal punishment for unauthorized access of a “computer system”… Was the persecution of Aaron Schwartz a wonderful thing? Is the Digital Millenium Copyright Act such a beautiful piece of legislation that it should be exported worldwide?

https://www.eff.org/issues/tpp

Have you seen Cory Doctorow’s lecture on the coming war on general purpose computing? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbYXBJOFgeI

You’ve talked about the importance of trust, wouldn’t the TPP harm trust in our basic methods of communication, and criminalize the type of tinkering and sharing that’s the basis of innovation?

72 Dan Weber April 27, 2015 at 9:07 am

If we’re worried about a “war on general computing” we should go attack Apple for releasing the locked down ipad.

I have no problem with someone who repeatedly breaks into a computer network, escalating into physical intrusion, facing criminal sanctions. Stop trespassing. (This doesn’t mean Ortiz wasn’t abusive with prosecutorial authority.)

I do not like the copyright extensions. As someone who thinks copyright is very very important, they are already plenty long enough to encourage economic activity.

73 DJF April 27, 2015 at 7:35 am

If TPP is so good why is it secret?

And if its secret why do you think its good?

74 Dan Weber April 27, 2015 at 9:10 am

I have zero, absolute zero, problem with the deal being negotiated in secret. Treaties need a gentle give-and-take that isn’t suitable with everyone pissing in the pool.

When it comes time to vote on the treaty, however, things change. Then it should be completely public. If any citizen cannot download the full-text then something’s wrong.

75 DJF April 27, 2015 at 9:27 am

One non secret is that its not a treaty. If it was a treaty it would need 2/3 vote in the Senate and probably would not pass.

Now you might ask since a treaty is an agreement between two or more countries why doesn’t this agreement need to follow treaty rules, the answer is because they (the US government) don’t want to and if they don’t want to follow the Constitution they don’t have to. That is what the Supreme Court has ruled, the only people who have standing to object is the Executive or Legislative branch and they haven’t objected.

76 Komori April 27, 2015 at 10:35 am

This, right here, is the biggest problem with it. I have major issues with the IP related parts that have been leaked, for instance, but allowing the process perversion sets a truly horrible precedent that will cause problems for well beyond the foreseeable future.

77 collin April 27, 2015 at 8:03 am

So a Democrat President going into a very contested race in 2016 and risk all the political energy on TPP because it impacts Vietnam the most. (In reality the trade impact to the US with Vietnam is very low but the great China risk does not appear that strong either.)

The Iran nuclear deal will have impact economically in the USA and global economy.

78 DJF April 27, 2015 at 8:13 am

Obama is not running in 2016. While he will need to get invited on the all important international speech circuit to make money to keep the life style he is now used too.

79 Frames April 27, 2015 at 9:53 am

TPP goes way beyond Vietnam. This article was trash, seek out better information.

80 collin April 27, 2015 at 10:14 am

Four points:

1) If Vietnam is so important couldn’t the US simply negotiate a deal directly with Vietnam without TPP. My problem with TPP is it is too big and even if the Senate fast tracks now they have to negotiate with ~39 other nations who will have very similar battles. (Rice Growers in Japan, Beef in Korea, Something in Else in France.)

2) If there is a risk of China then a free trade agreement with Vietnam is easier and has more impact. I don’t see Korea or Japan so easily moved by China demands. In reality Japanese workers were probably hurt more by cheap Chinese labor than US workers were.

3) Why battle so hard in 2015 which could fracture the Obama coalition for HRC. Judging by her video she is building on the Obama base support.

4) The Iran nuclear deal would benefit the average American economic a lot more than Vietnam free trade deal.

CR

81 Ryan April 27, 2015 at 8:51 pm

Perhaps there’s more to the world than each nation’s direct relationship with the US?

82 Harun April 28, 2015 at 11:46 am

Indeed.

Multilateral deals allow everyone to give up some of their concentrated interests special deals.

And trade between non-US players ends up affecting us, too.

83 Jonathan Wong April 27, 2015 at 8:33 am

Back door for China to get into the TPP later. Some here will defend free trade right up until the moment a Chinese cruise hits a US aircraft carrier.

84 ibaien April 27, 2015 at 9:09 am

don’t let the Koch brothers find out that you support “free(r) labor unions”! you’ll endanger your funding.

85 Frames April 27, 2015 at 9:50 am

The interests of multinational corps and those of the majority of the American public will continue to diverge. Democracy is the bedrock of freedom; capitalism is value neutral at best, and can result in a tyranny just as nightmarish as any communist fever dream that addles the typical reactionary’s mind.

86 Cliff April 27, 2015 at 11:23 am

Orly? What are the nightmarish tyrannies capitalism “resulted in”?

87 ibaien April 27, 2015 at 11:32 am
88 E. Harding April 27, 2015 at 4:03 pm

Royal property grants are much closer to whatever system you prefer than actual capitalism.

89 Frames April 27, 2015 at 4:42 pm

Nobody classifies Russia as a democracy, not even the Russians. Way to run off on a tangent there. Now I remember why I quit reading and participating in these things.

90 E. Harding April 27, 2015 at 6:23 pm

Then what is a “democracy”, anyway? If democracy, by definition, includes the “bedrock of freedom”, then your statement tells us exactly zero information (think about it).

91 leftist conservative April 27, 2015 at 12:20 pm

well put

92 E. Harding April 27, 2015 at 4:01 pm

“Democracy is the bedrock of freedom”
-Define “Democracy”. Two wolves and a sheep having dinner is not very appealing. Russia, Argentina, Nicaragua don’t sound particularly free to me, either.

93 leftist conservative April 27, 2015 at 12:19 pm

Hey, mega-corporations, K St, and DC pols, our man Tyler got your back!

94 James Love April 27, 2015 at 1:32 pm

Pretty surprised your geopolitical analysis is that the TPP can be justified by lower tariffs for Vietnam? Based upon textile tariffs? Wow. I guess you think Vietnam’s tariff barriers are high, can only be solved by a massive regional trade agreement, does not face competition from other countries with super low textile tariffs, and Vietnam’s future interests are most about the manufacturer of textiles. Just wow.

95 Eric April 27, 2015 at 11:04 pm

I find it interesting that you have such a strong opinion on a trade agreement whose text has not been seen by anyone oustide the administration and members of congress. Do you have special access? Or are your opinions based entirely on mood affiliation?

96 Ben Dover April 29, 2015 at 6:14 am

why is it our business to help the poor people of Vietnam?
we have plenty of poor people of our own.

97 Greg May 1, 2015 at 10:52 pm

I have been a global trade consultant for 15 years in Asia. Helping companies with real life FTA usage is one of our common services. In my experience a larger percentage, perhaps 40-50%, of FTA claims are fraudulent. In some cases re exporters do not know that the products do not meet the rules of origin in the Agreement. In others, they are diverting the goods to make it appear that they are eligible for the FTA savings. My strong suspicion is that a third or more of the ‘Vietnamese’ goods that will be exported under the program will simply be Chinese goods shipped through Vietnam. This already occurs on a large scale to take advantage of GSP programs and to circumvent anti-dumping actions.

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