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controversy over trade agreements

Hard questions need to be asked over trade deal

Demonstrators, many of them farmers, protested in Tokyo in December against the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images/File 2013

Demonstrators, many of them farmers, protested in Tokyo in December against the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Had the Globe’s editorial board been informed by regular coverage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership rather than a news blackout, its Jan. 19 editorial “Pacific, EU trade deals need up-or-down votes” might have asked harder questions.

For example, will the TPP, as the pact is known, redress US income inequality? No, it is projected to increase it.

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Will the TPP rebalance US trade deficits? Likely no. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, US trade deficits with Mexico and Canada ballooned.

Will the TPP result in higher environmental standards, the freer flow of information, more affordable medicines, or better workers’ rights among the 12 participating nations? No. Leaked chapters show the opposite.

How will disputes be resolved? Through an international trade tribunal whose rulings trump local and national regulations and courts.

Rather than dismissing critics and backing up-or-down votes on a secretive pact covering 40 percent of the global economy, the Globe should have sided with Senator Elizabeth Warren: “If transparency would lead to widespread public opposition to a trade agreement, then that trade agreement should not be the policy of the United States.”

Charlotte Kahn


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