TPP & TTIP Harmful, Economic Studies Find

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at

Presently, three supposed ‘trade’ deals are being proposed by U.S. President Barack Obama, to be signed by major trading nations (except Russia, China, and the other BRICS nations): TPP with Asia, TTIP with Europe, and also (but only for financial and other services) TISA with Europe. The promised benefits in all three cases are said to be economic.

Three independent economic studies have been done, two of Obama’s TTIP treaty with Europe, and one of his TPP treaty with Asia, and all three independent economic analyses find that the publics in each participating country will suffer, and that the owners of international corporations (especially in the U.S.) will benefit, if the proposed ‘trade’ deal goes into effect.

The latest such study to become available to the public was released due to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in the UK, which forced the British Government to release that independently produced study. It was actually the first of the three to have been done, dated three years back, in April 2013. It was titled, COSTS AND BENEFITS OF AN EU-USA INVESTMENT PROTECTION TREATY. Its bottom line was: “we conclude that an EU-US investment treaty that does contain ISDS [Investor State Dispute Resolution, ending national sovereignty] is likely to have few or no benefits to the UK, while having meaningful economic and political costs. Removing ISDS from the treaty would be unlikely to have an appreciable impact on the (already negligible) benefits of a treaty with ISDS, while largely removing the costs of the treaty to the UK. While we have not conducted a full cost-benefit assessment of an EU-US investment treaty [that] does not contain ISDS, such a treaty would likely be a less costly policy option from the perspective of the UK.” This study explained, better than any other, that the template for all of Obama’s ‘trade’ deals is demanded rather insistently by Obama and is unlikely to be able to be changed much by anything that America’s negotiating partners might attempt to do to modify them — and that this template strongly favors U.S.-based international corporations over international corporations that are based in other countries.

The first of the three studies to be published was actually the second of the three to have been completed; it was dated October 2014, and titled: The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: European Disintegration, Unemployment and Instability. It found that, “any gains in Trans-Atlantic trade would happen at the expense of intra-EU trade reversing the process of European economic integration. … We project that TTIP will lead to a contraction of GDP, personal incomes and employment. We also project an increase in financial instability and a continuing downward trend in the labor share of GDP.” In other words: investors in international corporations would be gaining at the expense of employees (workers, their wages) in the signatory countries.

Both of those studies concerned the TTIP treaty with Europe. In addition, one independent economic study was done of the proposed TPP treaty with Asia, and it was dated 16 April 2015. Its title was THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP IS UNLIKELY TO BE A GOOD DEAL FOR AMERICAN WORKERS. This study concluded that the earlier, industry-sponsored, studies of TPP had been based on clearly bogus assumptions, which possessed no empirical foundation. It further concluded: “As regards wages and inequality, if the TPP leads to a reshuffling of domestic production toward exportable sectors that are capital-intensive and away from importable sectors that are labor-intensive, then it will exacerbate inequality. If it does not lead to such a reshuffling, then wage effects will be modest, but this begs the question of why would we bother to sign a trade agreement that did not lead to such a reshuffling of production? That is, after all, the entire point of trying to expand trade opportunities, and is the source of estimated net national gains from trade. Assurances that the TPP will be all gain, no pain are deeply disingenuous.

In short, the conclusion of all three of the independent economic analyses of Obama’s proposed mega-’trade’ deals is: Obama’s proposed treaties are all lies, as regards their promised benefits to the public. Whereas international corporations (especially U.S.-based ones) will benefit, the general public in every country will lose.

That’s in additon to their violating the U.S. Constitution. Apparently, Obama (like all Presidents since Bill Clinton) doesn’t care about that. These deals adhere to a higher law: rule of the world by the chief stockholders in international corporations.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.