The 5,500 Page Behemoth

In this blog, I have but one question, regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which has just been made available for one’s reading pleasure.  Here is my question.  For an agreement that is touted as a free trade compact, why do we need a 5, 500 page document (parts of which I have read)?  If we are serious about free trade, forgive simple-mindedness, but why don’t the nations agree to the following language:

“From the effective date of this agreement, trade in all goods and services shall be unobstructed by any legal barriers, including tariffs, quotas, and taxes.  The one exception is national security-related goods or services, which may be regulated as any nations sees fit and so designates.”

Now that sounds like a free trade agreement.  What I am reading in the TPP sounds more like obfuscation designed for some as yet undetermined purpose—but not really to promote free trade.  If I were the average person, I would tend to think that these nations were up to little good economically.  I might even be persuaded (even if there was little evidence) that the TPP was designed to benefit other nations at the expense of the United States economy.  As I said I have read a couple of parts already and I can’t yet figure out what the parties are up too—the bureaucratic language doesn’t help.  Which of course raises another issue for me.  Why do bureaucrats (alleged experts) always write these documents?  They might even be bureaucrat-lawyers—the worst combination imaginable.

I have had my say.  You may now ignore me.

2 thoughts on “The 5,500 Page Behemoth”

  1. But of course I won’t. You are absolutely right on your ideal. But that is never the question–unless you want to make the best the enemy of the good. NAFTA was something like 1500 pages, and it likewise could have/should have been 2 or 3–but on net we are far better off with it than without. The reality of getting thru the special interests (and let’s face it–there are many more special interests that get to have a say when its the Obama Administration doing the dealing) means any “free” trade is well less than ideal. But the question is, will this flawed 5500 page monstrosity be better than the status quo? I have not, and will not, take the time to read it. But in general I suspect I would hold my nose and say yes–I’ll be very interested in getting the take of some of the trade experts that I admire. If you don’t like it, help elect a better administration more committed to free trade and then make it better.

  2. I would be much less suspicious if TPP were like NAFTA, but I can’t tell and several factors have changed: (1) we have a very different president (2) who tends NOT to want genuine free trade. The latter makes his enthusiastic support all the more enigmatic, though he could be supporting it just because he is a “cosmopolitan” and doesn’t want any one nation or region like the US to be too disproportionately powerful. Have you heard from anyone yet who has read it. You can bet almost no one in the Senate has (except Rand Paul).

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