This week, the U.S. International Trade Commission published a damning report about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade and economic agreement between the United States and 11 other countries. The report predicts the TPP will increase the job-killing U.S. trade deficit by a whopping $21.7 billion.
By law, the ITC must write a report evaluating the likely economic impacts of proposed trade deals. But the economic model the ITC uses generally produces overoptimistic and incorrect predictions, such as that wages would grow for U.S., Canadian and Mexican workers under the North American Free Trade Agreement and that the U.S. trade balance with Korea would improve under the U.S.–Korea FTA. These predictions were way off base. NAFTA suppressed wages for workers in all three countries and the U.S. trade deficit with Korea has skyrocketed.
The bad report on the TPP is made even scarier by knowing the ITC’s record. It means that the TPP is not just a bad deal, but it's also dangerous for working families and the U.S. economy as a whole.
Here are five of the most disturbing findings (all comparisons are to a world without the TPP in 15 years):
- U.S. manufacturing output will decrease by almost $11 billion and manufacturing employment will go down .2%.
- U.S. auto parts output will decrease by $1.4 billion and auto parts sector employment will fall by .3%.
- U.S. services exports (a supposed “strength” of the U.S. economy) will be $2.2 billion less than services imports.
- Job losses also are projected in sectors including forestry, coal, oil, gas, textiles, transportation, logistics, electronic equipment, tourism and recreation. Two of the hardest hit sectors for job losses are titanium products and leather goods.
- Despite all these losses, the overall U.S. economy is expected to grow—by a mere .15%! That’s basically a rounding error.
And remember these are the optimistic figures. The reality is far scarier for working parents with children to feed or students hoping to pay off student loans. In truth, the promised benefits of TPP probably won’t even add up enough to recover the costs of flying negotiators all over the world for five years to negotiate this secret deal behind closed doors.
So, let’s get this straight: lower manufacturing output, worse trade deficit, jobs losses in key sectors, secret negotiations—and global businesses love it? There’s something fishy here. Why would anyone who cares about working people support the TPP? They better not. Working families are watching.