At con­ven­tion, trade pact a po­lit­i­cal foot­ball

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By AMY HE in Philadel­phia amyhe@chi­nadai­

Dur­ing ev­ery pause for ap­plause, crit­ics of the Tran­sPa­cific Part­ner­ship ( TPP) in the au­di­ence stood up in droves, wav­ing their TPP signs cir­cled with the “no” sym­bol to show their un­hap­pi­ness over the pro­posed trade pact.

Many con­ven­tion­go­ers through­out the Wells Fargo Arena — where the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion is tak­ing place this week — and a smat­ter­ing at the Penn­syl­va­nia Con­ven­tion Cen­ter, where events are staged on the side­lines, wore anti-TPP but­tons along with their Bernie San­ders or Hil­lary Clin­ton badges.

Stephanie Goslen, a 56-year-old re­tired sci­ence teacher, said that the TPP would fur­ther de­stroy the en­vi­ron­ment, run­ning counter to the am­bi­tious en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion ini­tia­tives that world lead­ers agreed to at the Paris cli­mate change meet­ing last year.

“This doesn’t just harm us, it harms the whole world,” said Goslen, who trav­eled to the con­ven­tion from North Carolina. “This is more of a cli­mate is­sue than just a part­ner­ship. This is some­thing that’s go­ing to af­fect the cli­mate, and we don’t have much time. We’re run­ning out of it. And China, too, is hurt­ing the most.”

She said that China has suf­fered from the ef­fects of cli­mate pol­lu­tion more than the US has. “We can’t keep do­ing this. The world will be fin­ished,” she said.

Sit­ting next to her, Joan Tay­lor from Mont­gomery County, Mary­land, said that cor­po­ra­tions love TPP, “mak­ing tons of money” off the part­ner­ship and pric­ing busi­nesses out. “Amer­i­can work­ers would be hurt,” she said.

Jack­son Thomp­son, a 54-year-old soft­ware en­gi­neer from St Louis, said his main con­cern over the TPP was how the trade poli­cies would in­crease cor­po­ra­tions’ hold on in­tel­lec­tual prop­er­ties.

“It’s a big threat to open­source soft­ware and in­di­vid­ual in­no­va­tion,” Thomp­son said. “Cor­po­ra­tions in the US have been gain­ing soft­ware patents, they’ve been gain­ing all kinds of patents, that were never is­sued be­fore. With the TPP, it even goes out­side of court sys­tems within coun­tries to cor­po­rate pan­els.”

More than two dozen con­ven­tion­go­ers in­ter­viewed by China Daily were all against the TPP.

Tim Kaine, Hil­lary Clin­ton’s pick as run­ning mate, said as re­cently as last week that the TPP would be an im­prove­ment on the sta­tus quo. Just be­fore Clin­ton an­nounced him as her pick for vice-pres­i­dent, Kaine de­fended his sup­port for Pres­i­dent Barack Obama on the deal, say­ing, “Why would I not give to this pres­i­dent the same tools to ne­go­ti­ate a trade deal that other pres­i­dents have had?”

Shortly af­ter his vi­cepres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion was an­nounced, Kaine said that he now op­posed the deal, putting his opin­ion in line with Clin­ton’s, who has said that the trade deal in its cur­rent form did not meet her stan­dards for jobs in the US.

US Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Michael Fro­man has said that the TPP would po­si­tion Amer­i­cans to “com­pete and win in to­mor­row’s global econ­omy. This is the first trade agree­ment to put a real fo­cus on Amer­i­can small busi­nesses who will gain pow­er­ful tools to help them ex­port.”

In April, more than 200 agri­cul­tural groups came out in sup­port for the deal, which would al­low farm­ers to bet­ter ex­port their agri­cul­tural com­modi­ties, they said.

“TPP will al­low us to be more com­pet­i­tive in the rapidly grow­ing Asia-Pa­cific mar­ket,” they said.


Op­po­nents of the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship gather at the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion in Philadel­phia on Mon­day.

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