12 August 2015

TPP: the Fat Lady Ain't Singing, but She Is Warming Up

At the end of last month, the negotiations that were supposed to put the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) ended without an agreement.

What's more, there wasn't even a date set for a followup summit:
Trade negotiators from the United States and 11 other Pacific nations failed to reach final agreement on Friday, with difficult talks on the largest regional trade agreement ever deadlocking over protections for drug companies and access to agriculture markets on both sides of the Pacific.

Trade ministers, in a joint statement, said late Friday they had made “significant progress” and will return to their home countries to obtain high-level signoffs for a small number of final sticking points on the agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, with bilateral talks reconvening soon.

“There are an enormous number of issues that one works through at these talks, narrowing differences, finding landing zones,” said Michael B. Froman, the United States trade representative. “I am very impressed with the work that has been done. I am gratified by the progress that has been made.”

Still, the breakdown is a setback for the Obama administration, which had promoted the talks here as the final round ahead of an accord that would bind 40 percent of the world’s economy under a new set of rules for commerce.
This is a failure, and a big one.

In a normally unproductive summit, the Japanese would oblique.

When a Japanese diplomat says, "It would be difficult," it should be read "No!" with the explanation point, and when a Japanese diplomat says that, "It would be very difficult, it's the equivalent of "F%$# You White Man."

This time, the Japanese Economy Minister, who is their lead on this deal, just explicitly stated that the US were too wimpy:
Japan has expressed concern about a loss of momentum in talks on a pan-Pacific trade pact after participants failed to agree to meet again this month to try to clinch a deal that would cover 40 percent of the global economy.

Ministers from the 12 nations negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would stretch from Japan to Chile, fell short of a deal at talks last month on the Hawaiian island of Maui, despite early optimism.

Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari, in a blog circulated on Tuesday, also questioned why the United States appeared to have lacked its usual "stubborn persistence" at those talks, despite a willingness of some countries to stay to try to reach an agreement.
If this were translated into standard American discourse, it would use language that would make George Carlin uncomfortable.

And from Australia, a country whose foreign policy is defined by a desperate need to be "In the Club", the Trade Minister is saying that a deal is unlikely:
Australia’s trade minister, Andrew Robb, has appeared at the National Press Club in Canberra today, where he admitted that concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal is looking increasingly unlikely.

According to AAP, Rob said that sugar and dairy access remained key sticking points, along with motor vehicle assess between Mexico, the US, Canada and Japan. He also noted that “the closer we get to a US presidential election, the more prospect (there is) of it falling over”.
There is also the upcoming Canadian elections later this year.

Seeing as how this deal sucks, it's a good thing that it appears to be comatose.


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