Expanded International Trade Agreements

While the United States and eight Pacific countries are negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement in San Diego, critics say the TPP is primarily about new corporate rights, not trade. The negotiations and their texts are only open to government negotiators and a select group of about 600 corporate lobbyists. Through such a secret process, officials responsible for the TPP can ensure the completion of controversial clauses such as the deregulation of financial markets in the Pacific and the creation of corporate courts allowing transnational corporations to bypass local courts and other government authorities in litigation. The implementation of the TPP will only serve to strengthen the power of the groups to the detriment of the public. (The Nation) The WTO also mediates trade disputes between member countries. If the government of one country accuses the government of another country of violating the rules of world trade, a WTO panel decides the dispute. (The panel`s decision may be appealed to an appellate body.) If the WTO finds that the government of a member State has not complied with the agreements it has signed, the member is required to change its policy and bring them into line with the rules. If the Member considers that it is politically impossible to change its policy, it may offer other countries compensation in the form of lower trade barriers for other products. If it decides not to do so, other countries may obtain wto authorization to impose higher tariffs (i.e. retaliatory measures) on products originating in the Member State concerned for its non-compliance. The world has received almost more free trade from the next round, known as the Doha Round agreement. If successful, Doha would have significantly reduced tariffs for all WTO members.

Proponents of the law believe that the current method of negotiating trade deals, which requires congressional approval, is too slow and complicated for today`s world. Opponents point out that trade agreements are treaties with other nations and that the Constitution gives Congress the power to enter into these agreements. They also point out that speeding up legislation would limit public debate on trade policy. This debate is obviously one of the reasons why the current method is slow and complicated. Mercantilist trade policy has discouraged trade agreements between nations….