The 12-nation, corporate-friendly Trans-Pacific Partnership “is at a make-or-break point,” according to Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb, who said that if the U.S. is able to overcome opposition from leading figures like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the deal could be inked within weeks.
The Sydney Morning Herald, owned by Fairfax Media, reports: “Mr. Robb and other close observers have told Fairfax that negotiators are poised to strike a ground-breaking deal which would bring huge economic benefits to Australia and mark a major strategic win for the United States, as it wrestles with China for regional leadership.”
But, Robb added, Warren’s “ferocious attack on the TPP has caused Congress to baulk at giving the Obama administration the Fast-Track authority it needs to seal a deal during the only realistic window of political opportunity prior to the US presidential election in November 2016.”
Though hardly alone in her opposition, Warren has argued that implementation of the secretly negotiated trade deal would boost corporate power while making it harder to prevent another financial crisis. She has taken specific issue with ‘Investor-State Dispute Settlement’ (ISDS) provisions, which she claims would “tilt the playing field in the United States further in favor of big multinational corporations.”
Stakeholders in the U.S. who have lined up against the agreement also see the next few weeks as a critical turning point in the fight over Fast Track and the so-called “free trade” deals that authority is designed to promote.
“We are going all out to oppose it: phone banks, leaf letting, door knocks in various congressional districts and Senate states in informing the general public, and we will continue this until we are successful in defeating it,” AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said during a reporter roundtable on Tuesday.
Should the trade agreement go through despite vociferous public opposition, “It will adversely affect the way working people view this administration and all those in the Democratic Party for a long time,” Trumka said. Democrats under pressure from the White House to support it should remember that the president won’t be on the ballot in 2016, he added. “He isn’t running again, they are.”
Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, warned this week that “the TPP could sabotage the ability of the U.S. (and other nations) to respond to the climate crisis.”
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