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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Europe Backs Away from Trade Deal Designed to Increase Corporate Profits and Undermine Environmental Regulation

Europe Backs Away from Trade Deal Designed to Increase Corporate Profits and Undermine Environmental Regulation

Friday, 14 June 2013 05:25

The Washington Post shows as little regard for standards of journalistic objectivity in its coverage of trade deals as in its coverage of Social Security. Therefore it was not surprising to see this line in an article reporting on the European Union's decision to restrict areas to be covered in a new trade pact with the United States:

"The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a centerpiece of the Obama administration's accelerating push on trade and international economic relations to boost U.S. growth and jobs."

Really? The Post knows that boosting growth and jobs is the main purpose of the Obama administration's trade agenda? That could be the case, but given the central role that corporate lobbyists are playing in designing the agenda it might be reasonable to believe that boosting corporate profits is a high priority. This does not necessarily mean boosting growth and creating jobs and in fact may mean the exact opposite.

For example, when trade agreements increase patent or other barriers on the sale of prescription drugs it will raise the price of these drugs in other countries, pulling money out of consumers pockets and leaving them with less money to spend on other items produced in the United States. This will boost corporate profits but will lower growth and hurt employment. The same is true of many other items on the agenda of U.S. trade negotiators.

The Post need not pass judgment on the motives of the Obama administration in these negotiations. It just should follow normal journalistic standards and report the administration's claims about its agenda (along with the claims of critics) and let readers make up their own minds. It is irresponsible to simply assert that the motives claimed by the administration are its true motives, especially when so much evidence points in the opposite direction.

Comments (7)Add Comment
written by Last Mover, June 14, 2013 7:07
This will boost corporate profits but will lower growth and hurt employment.

This is big commie lie. As Phil Gramm has said, no one can get a job from someone who makes less than they do.
Wow, people are still out there talking about "big commie lies"?
written by Rob Lewis, June 14, 2013 8:44
I guess the stats showing conclusively that "capital" (if you want to get all Marx-ey) is vacuuming up an ever-increasing share of our wealth, to the detriment of labor (whose wages have been essentially flat while their productivity has doubled) is just another "big commie lie".

obama's motives
written by mel in oregon, June 14, 2013 9:25
Obama's record shows where his heart is. He can't hide it, & only saps pretend he would accomplish more if only republicans would stop being so obstructionist. He literally runs to talk to the Chamber of Commerce while ignoring all pleas from labor groups for an increase in the minimum wage. His continuing support for Ben Bernanke & his idiotic policies at the Fed should be condemned by anyone with a three digit IQ. Obama's love for a surveilance state much greater than GW's small mind could comprehend is a matter of public record. There is no guessing about Barack, it's well documented, wake up!
Strictly speaking the Post is accurate
written by Jennifer, June 14, 2013 10:05
By all accounts the trade deals, the one with Europe and even more so the TPP are the "centerpiece" of the Obama's administration idea of increasing growth. It certainly won't be positive for 99% of the population-the "growth" will be entirely at the corporate-level and any "jobs" will be through smoke and mirrors. It would be great if instead of administration talking points papers like the Post would actually discuss what's in these "trade deals" but of course such text is not available. You'd think if it was so great for everybody they would want to share.
Another Poe's Law fishing expedition ha ha ha
written by watermelonpunch, June 14, 2013 9:28
Oh Last Mover does love his sarcastic goldfish so. LOL

Any rate, thanks for beating the press!
Someone really needs to expose these corporate lobbyists... Obviously it won't be happening from any journalism in the Washington Post.
EU - US Not A Bad Deal
written by John, June 15, 2013 2:26
The trade deal with the EU - US will be more of a win - win than other FTAs. The patent protections Mr Baker warns about is not an issue with the EU. The EU has a strong legal system like the US and patent protection is well ingrained. However, what could be of concern in the trade negotiations is the differing purchasing methods of drugs between EU member states. Belgium and other states, for example, make the pharma industry pay a premium towards the healthcare system within the country. On the hand Holland is very much like the US with their healthcare delivery. Their healthcare is almost paid entirely for by private insurance, like the US.

Trade negotiators may try to align the EU healthcare system with the US, naturally raising the costs.
Not like the US
written by pjm, June 17, 2013 8:45
John, I am not sure about your information on patents but your characterization of the Netherlands health system seems suspect. The US is unique in that even in countries where "private" insurance plays a major role, said insurance is private in name only, i.e., these health care providers are highly regulated non-profits with private management, not for-profit companies. Which is a reason US private insurance sector is so much more costly.
So it is not clear why there is any reason (other than a political preference) that such systems (or really any system) doesn't require Big Pharma (nationally or internationally based) to pay a premium.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.