The State of Things
11:55 am
Wed October 16, 2013

New Trade Deal Called NAFTA On Steroids

The leaders of the Trans-Pacific Partnership member states.
The leaders of the Trans-Pacific Partnership member states.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

    

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the biggest thing to hit international trade since the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Negotiations are ongoing between 12 Pacific Rim countries, including the United States, Canada, Vietnam and Chile. Advocates say the agreement is necessary to ensure smooth trade between nations. Opponents call it a corporate power grab.

North Carolina AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer MaryBe McMillan is one of those opponents. She said the Trans-Pacific Partnership could be detrimental to North Carolina.

"Since NAFTA we've lost one in four U.S. manufacturing jobs," she said.

She added that we've lost more than 300,000 jobs in North Carolina during that time.

However, Corinne Krupp, an associate professor in Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, said trade agreements like these are necessary in a global economy.

"I do recognize that a lot of manufacturing jobs have been lost in the United States," She later added, "This is a better deal for us, because we need more transparency and disclosure."

She argues this agreement is more comprehensive than those in the past.  

"Most free trade deals are about reducing tariffs," Krupp said. "But this trade agreement is going a lot further because tariffs are already pretty low."

Instead, this agreement focuses on getting rid of red tape and bureaucracy to make trade between countries easier, Krupp said.. This includes equalizing intellectual property rights and allowing foreign countries to be more competitive in countries that prefer local firms.

Krupp says that these regional agreements make sense in a complicated world. 

"When you have the entire membership of the WTO... trying to reach agreement on all of these issues, you just don't get anywhere," Krupp said.

But the secrecy under which these negotiations has taken place concerns many critics.

"I think the reason this is being kept secret is because they know the American people are going to be outraged," McMillan said.

Audio for this segment will be up by 3 p.m. 

 

Related Program