Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Both the National Association of Manufacturers and the Business Roundtable endorsed the Trans-Pacific Partnership this week. (Photo: Lane Oatey/Getty Images)

Both the National Association of Manufacturers and the Business Roundtable endorsed the Trans-Pacific Partnership this week. (Photo: Lane Oatey/Getty Images)

Surprise! Corporate America Is Throwing Down for the TPP

Flurry of big business endorsements is likely aimed at building congressional momentum for mega-deal

Sarah Lazare

American big business has now officially endorsed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), giving many all the proof they need that the 12-nation deal—poised to be the largest ever—is bad news for people and the planet.

An association of Chief Executive Officers known as the Business Roundtable (BRT) announced its formal backing on Tuesday, indicating that it plans to use its muscle to press Congress to approve the deal this year. In fact, BRT president John Engler told The Hill that the association wants the TPP to pass as quickly as possible—before the summer.

That endorsement followed Monday's announcement from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) that it is throwing its weight behind the pact. "Open markets encourage cooperation and prosperity among nations and governments, rather than conflict, and the NAM has a long and proud history of promoting free and fair trade," said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.

With these two endorsements now established, some predict that the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce will be next.

To be sure, multinational corporations have already been heavily influential in the TPP negotiations, which have been conducted in near complete secrecy.

But the endorsements this week appear to be calculated to add momentum to the deal in Congress. Because the U.S. Senate passed Fast Track authority this summer, lawmakers will not be able to debate or amend the deal. But both houses must ratify the TPP, which will likely be submitted by the White House in the early spring.

Civil society groups are still holding out hope that grassroots pressure can persuade legislators to vote down the TPP.

And within those countries that are party to the deal—the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam—labor unions, environmental groups, community organizations, and grassroots social movements are vigorously opposing the accord with protests, open letters, and organizing.

When the full text of the TPP was finally released this fall, it confirmed what civil society groups around the world have long warned: the deal poses a profound threat to global health, the environment and climate, free speech, and Internet freedom.

Meanwhile, the history of the TPP's backers is telling. NAM alone has a track record of opposing legislation to address the climate crisis, was involved in a lawsuit to challenge U.S. rules requiring disclosure of blood diamonds, and has vigorously opposed disclosure of political spending.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Biden's Student Debt Relief to Cost a Fraction of US Giveaways to the Megarich and Pentagon

"In contrast to President Trump and Republicans who gave giant corporations $2 trillion in tax breaks, President Biden delivered transformative middle-class relief," said two senators.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Climate Change Is the Asteroid,' Say Critics of NASA Earth Defense Mission

"The actual clear and present danger to humanity is of course Earth breakdown from burning fossil fuels," said one NASA climate scientist.

Brett Wilkins ·


After Nearly a Decade in Exile, Snowden Granted Russian Citizenship

While the whistleblower said "a little stability" would benefit his family, one digital rights advocate noted that "if the Biden administration dropped the charges against Snowden, Putin wouldn't be able to use him for a PR stunt."

Jessica Corbett ·


Peace Group Urges US and China to Halt 'Blatantly Provocative' Military Maneuvers

The co-chairs of the Committee for a SANE U.S.-China Policy called on American and Chinese leaders to "immediately take unilateral and bilateral steps to reduce the risk of an accidental or unintended clash."

Brett Wilkins ·


In 'Unprecedented Democratic Exercise,' Cubans Approve Inclusive Family Code

"This is a milestone in the advancement of democracy," said global grassroots coalition Progressive International. "Nowhere in the world has a family law been submitted for public consultation and subject to a referendum."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo