In a June 2013 New York Times article about the massive Asia-Pacific 12-nation trade zone secrets of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for governing international trade, environmental and other nontrade issues, a peak at some of the leaked policies that are off limits to most Americans was provided.
Five of the 29 chapters are trade related about things like tariffs and quotas. The remaining 24 cover nontrade policies that would require trade sanctions against American exports if American laws do not conform, now or in the future.
Some of the leaked policies include:
- copyright provisions like the corporations behind the Stop Online Piracy Act pushed in 2012
- controlled cost of medicine policies for government actions to keep down costs against which the pharmaceutical company adviser contacts would lobby
- more expansive incentives for relocating domestic manufacturing offshore than in Nafta which caused millions of American manufacturing jobs to leave the U.S.
- forbidding bans on financial products like the derivitives that caused the 2008 U.S. financial crisis
- the environmental part addressing "overfishing, trade of wood products, wildlife crime, and illegal logging" being mostly voluntary, with no penalties or criminal sanctions for violations and compliance left to the countries.
The released environmental section draft by Wikileaks in January 2014 said Vietnam, Peru and Malaysia object to phasing out fossil fuels and the U.S. and Australia do not like the climate change part. Read the U.S. government TPP environmental position response.
Some of the other hard to overcome differences are tariffs on imported goods, especially between the U.S. and Japan, rules for state-owned enterprises and government procurement, and intellectual property.
Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Obama's pick for next ambassador to China, offered a bill in January 2014 to the Senate to reauthorize the 2002 Trade Promotional Authority allowing Obama to present Congress non-amendable trade agreements. Obama has faced opposition from the Democratic Party to the federal government setting up this authority that would deny Congress the ability to make changes to the trade deal once they know what it is. Obama could sign before Congress gets to vote, with rules for Congress after the signing requiring a quick vote, limited debate from them, and no amendments allowed. It is ostensibly because other countries are worried that Congress could change the deal.
The Washington Post told how how much off-the-record influence comes from companies. Of the 28 advisory committees who are supposed to represent the best interests of the public, 85 percent is private industry and trade associations, i.e. corporate interests. The 566 members, 306 from private industry and 174 from trade associations, are privy to documents kept from the public in private meetings with the Obama administration and on a secure website.
The 12 countries in the TPP that are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei. South Korea and Taiwan's expressed interests in joining were dismissed as
premature at this point.
Expectations had existed that the agreement would be closed before Obama's April Asia trip, but there is no scheduled minister meeting again after the February 2014 four day meetings held in Singapore.