The Post Pushes Trade Agreement in News Section, Again

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Friday, 22 February 2013 06:10

The Washington Post ran a major PR piece for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, headlining an article with the possibility that Japan might join the pact, "Japan’s economic turmoil may provide an opening for the U.S." As the article points out, Japan's trade barriers to U.S. exports are already very low. It is unlikely that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will increase U.S. exports to any substantial extent. 

Towards the end of the article the Post tells readers;

"With similar talks underway between the United States and the European Union, the administration hopes it can shape global intellectual property, Internet commerce and other policies in ways that work to the advantage of U.S. companies."

This seems the main point of the trade agreement. In this sense it is misleading to tout an "opening for the U.S." as the Post does in the headline. This appears to be a deal designed to increase the profits of U.S. corporations. There is likely to be little, if any, gain for ordinary people in the United States.

In fact, if U.S. corporations increase their profits from patents, royalties and other items in Japan and elsewhere, it could lead to job loss in the United States. If the U.S. companies get more money from abroad from these payments then it will lead to a rise in the dollar. That would reduce other exports from the United States and increase imports, thereby reducing employment in the manufacturing sector.

This piece also repeatedly refers to the deal as a "free-trade" agreement. This is wrong. An agreement that increases patent and copyright protection, which this pact would, is going in the opposite direction of free-trade, which would reduce such protectionist barriers. The Post could have saved space and increased the accuracy of the article by leaving out the word "free."