The TPP Is Not About "Free Trade" and Growth

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Friday, 04 October 2013 07:35

The Washington Post finds it impossible to write about trade agreements without calling them "free-trade" agreements. It used the term twice in an article on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Of course the TPP is not about free trade, in most cases the formal trade barriers between the countries negotiating the pact are relatively low. The main thrust of the negotiations is to impose a regulator structure in a wide range of areas -- health, safety, environmental -- which will override national and sub-national rules. This has little to do with trade and in some cases, such as the increased patent protection for prescription drugs being pushed as part of the deal (which is noted in the article), will actually involve increased barriers to trade.