Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"This report validates that the TPP is not worth passing," said United Steelworkers (USW) International president Leo W. Gerard. (Photo: SumOfUs/cc/flickr)

US Government's Own Report Shows Toxic TPP "Not Worth Passing"

'This report indicates the TPP will produce almost no benefits, but inflict real harm on so many workers.'

Deirdre Fulton

The government's own assessment of the toxic Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) shows that the controversial trade deal will produce negligible economic benefits while damaging most Americans' jobs and wages.

The U.S. International Trade Commission's (ITC) report (pdf), issued Wednesday, shows that the TPP "would likely have only a small positive effect on U.S. growth," Reuters reported.

"This may be the most damning government report ever submitted for a trade agreement."
Leo W. Gerard, United Steelworkers

Meanwhile, the ITC estimates a worsening balance of trade for 16 out of 25 U.S. agriculture, manufacturing, and services sectors that cover vehicles, wheat, corn, auto parts, titanium products, chemicals, seafood, textiles and apparel, rice, and even financial service. Indeed, output in the manufacturing sector would be $11.2 billion lower with TPP than without it in 2032, the ITC found, with employment down 0.2 percent. And while vehicle production would gain, auto parts, textiles, and chemicals would see reductions, the trade panel said.

The analysis also estimates the proposed 12-nation trade deal—a centerpiece of President Barack Obama's economic agenda—will increase the U.S. global trade deficit by $21.7 billion by 2032.

"This report validates that the TPP is not worth passing," said United Steelworkers (USW) International president Leo W. Gerard, who heads up one of many labor organizations opposed to the agreement.

"In the past, similar reports have proven to widely underestimate the negative impact of trade agreements on American workers and the economy," he said. "This report as mandated by law indicates the TPP will produce almost no benefits, but inflict real harm on so many workers."

To that end, Gerard said, "this may be the most damning government report ever submitted for a trade agreement."

And even those lackluster benefits the ITC's report does project should be taken with a grain of salt, argued economist Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) on Thursday.

"It is worth noting that the USITC modeling exercises in the past have not been good predictors of the outcomes of trade deals," he said. "For example, their models failed to project the large increases in the deficit with Mexico following NAFTA, the increase in the deficit with China following PNTR, and the increase in the deficit with Korea following the U.S.-Korea trade agreement."

What's more, he added, "the USITC also has not done well in projecting winning and losing sectors from trade agreements. A recent analysis by CEPR found no relationship between the industries that were projected to be export and import gainers and losers from the trade deal with Korea and the actual outcome."

Indeed, said Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch director Lori Wallach: "Given that the ITC's past studies on pending trade pacts have usually projected improvements in the U.S. trade balance and gains for specific economic sectors but the opposite occurred, that this study projects an increase in the U.S. trade deficit and losses for 16 of 25 U.S. economic sectors suggests that if ever implemented, the TPP could really be disastrous."


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

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

WHO Calls for Moratorium on Covid Booster Shots as Billions Go Without Single Vaccine Dose

"We cannot accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it, while the world's most vulnerable people remain unprotected."

Jake Johnson ·


Calling New Eviction Ban 'Just a Start,' Omar Says Rent Should Be Canceled Until End of Pandemic

"We have the House, Senate, and White House—there are no excuses for our inability to act. We have the power to stop the next eviction crisis and must act now."

Jake Johnson ·


Conceding Defeat in Ohio Special Election, Nina Turner Says 'Our Justice Journey Continues'

"We are going to continue to travel all over this country to ensure that progressives are not left alone when evil lurks. Until justice rings for all, justice rings for none."

Jake Johnson ·


'I Think He Should Resign': Biden Joins Chorus of Demands for Cuomo to Step Down

Calls for the New York Democratic governor's ouster are growing after an investigation found that he sexually harassed multiple women in violation of state and federal law.

Jessica Corbett ·


Cori Bush, Progressive Lawmakers and Activists Hailed for New CDC Eviction Moratorium

"I think the message here today is clear," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. "It's that everyday people can make a change. We can always demand better."

Brett Wilkins ·