The Trans-Pacific Partnership: A Trade Deal that Progressives Can Be Proud Of

Now that the Obama Administration has completed negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Congress is preparing to vote on whether to approve the most progressive trade deal in history. 

The TPP will not only shore up the 11.7 million American jobs that are already supported by the export of U.S. goods and services — it will also support new, high-quality jobs and set fair rules on wages, workplace safety, and the environment, instead of leaving nations like China and others to set weaker standards on their own. This ground breaking deal will help ensure that the United States remains a global leader on trade while establishing unprecedented protections for the environment, expanding labor rights here and beyond our borders, and raise the bar for new global standards for sustainable development. 

 

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Raising the bar on environmental protections

The TPP sets the most far-reaching standards in history to protect our oceans, land, and the air we breathe. TPP is the first-ever trade agreement to require countries to commit to protect our natural resources and wildlife, with enforceable provisions like:

  • Protecting and conserving endangered species like rhinos, tigers, elephants, sea turtles, parrots, and more
  • Combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, while promoting more sustainable fisheries management
  • Reducing ship pollution to safeguard our oceans
  • Fighting unregulated deforestation
  • Protecting the ozone layer by reducing consumption and trade of ozone-depleting substances
  • Eliminating tariffs on green products and technologies, like wind turbines, solar panels, wastewater treatment systems, and air pollution control equipment

Several TPP countries rank among the world’s 17 “mega-diverse” countries, a group covering less than 10 percent of the Earth’s area, but supporting more than 70 percent of the Earth’s plant and animal species. In addition, TPP countries account for almost 25 percent of the world's seafood catch and timber production — meaning it is critical that we protect this region and take advantage of this historic opportunity to slow and stop illegal fishing, deforestation, and endangered wildlife trafficking.

 

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Protecting workers in America and abroad

By establishing strong labor protections abroad, the TPP will protect workers in the United States by avoiding a race to the bottom in workplace standards with our global competitors. Unlike past trade agreements, TPP includes strong and explicit provisions that protect workers — requiring countries that want to trade with the U.S. to:

  • Secure workers’ freedom to form independent unions and right to collective bargaining
  • Prohibit exploitative child labor and forced labor
  • Protect against employment discrimination
  • Respect workers’ freedom to form unions and protect their right to collective bargaining
  • Set and comply with acceptable conditions of work — including a minimum wage, maximum hours of work, and a safe workplace
  • Enforce the same labor protections in export processing zones

These new and tough rules will impact nearly 650 million workers who would benefit from stronger labor protections around the world. The TPP will expand the current reach of enforceable labor provisions by four times.

 

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Supporting jobs here at home

TPP countries already employ more than 3 million Americans through the export of U.S. goods. According to a new study supported by the Peterson Institute, the TPP will grow exports and income even more than initially projected. The TPP is estimated to increase U.S. annual exports by $357 billion by 2030. This boost in exports supports better, more sustainable growth in the U.S. It would do this by:

  • Raising middle-class wages through 796,000 new export-related jobs by 2030 that pay up to 18% more than average
  • Helping women-owned export businesses, which pay 1.6 times more than non-export businesses
  • Keeping pace with China and the rest of our global competitors by ensuring American entrepreneurs can access the world's fastest growing markets

More American goods and services traded overseas means more jobs here at home. And because these jobs pay more, workers and their communities will feel the impact of the trade deal in a significant way. By 2030, the TPP is projected to account for an increase of $131 billion in real U.S. income every year.

 

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Promoting sustainable development and new global standards

The TPP creates sustainable and inclusive economic growth that improves food security, reduces poverty, fights corruption, and supports good governance through greater accountability, participation, and transparency. It ensures that partner countries meet their obligations towards inclusive growth, so that they cultivate strong and sustainable economies and high-standard markets for American goods and services. This framework achieves these goals by:

  • Encouraging transparency, public participation, and accountability in government decision-making to fight corruption and promote good governance 
  • Improving food-security by leveraging partner countries' resources to diversify access to food products
  • Protecting consumers by committing TPP countries to coordinate in the enforcement of consumer protection laws
  • Promoting free flows of data to increase access to the Internet for low-income consumers 

This agreement will set enforceable rules of the road that will become the new global standards. TPP countries must adopt and uphold cutting-edge digital freedoms, like protecting a free and open Internet, enabling cross-border data flows, and deliver enforceable consumer protections and robust intellectual property protections.

 


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ABOUT THE PROGRESSIVE COALITION FOR AMERICAN JOBS

We are progressives and Democrats committed to leveling the playing field for American workers, creating jobs here at home, and building a stronger economy for all of us. We’re united by the shared belief that America should lead the way to a more just and connected world – and that the Trans-Pacific Partnership can help us get there.