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Friday, August 19, 2016

Sen. Pat Toomey: The TPP falls short

Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be a bad trade deal for Pennsylvanians

August 17, 2016 12:00 AM
Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Every trade agreement must be studied on its own merits. Some are good, some are bad. I have carefully analyzed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed trade agreement between America and numerous Asian and Pacific countries.

TPP is supposed to give our country the chance to write the rules for global trade, instead of letting China do it. That is a laudable goal, and some of its provisions would open new markets for some of our state’s farmers and other industries.

However, having the right goal is not good enough. It also has to be a good deal, and good deals require good negotiations. In the TPP, the Obama administration has not gotten a good enough deal for Pennsylvania workers.

The TPP falls short in several areas. Take just two examples, both of which I have stressed to the Obama administration.

About 46,000 Pennsylvanians have jobs in the life science and pharmaceutical sector, making it one of our state’s largest industries. TPP will make it too easy for other countries to steal innovations that we create in Pennsylvania and take the jobs tied to those innovations.

Pennsylvania’s largest agricultural product is dairy, with about 7,000 dairy farms in the commonwealth. This sector depends heavily on exports, which means it’s critically important that trade agreements open foreign markets to our goods. Unfortunately, TPP has failed to do this meaningfully, particularly with respect to the protectionist Canadian market.

I have brought these and other problems to the attention of the Obama trade negotiators, but regrettably, they have failed to address them. As it now stands, TPP is not a good deal for Pennsylvania. I cannot support it.

A good trade deal can open up new markets across the globe and help turn around our weak economy. We must not abandon trade. Politicians in both parties who demagogue trade do a disservice to our people, playing on their economic fears, instead of promoting their economic well-being. But we should not pass a flawed deal just to get a deal done. We should dump the TPP and return to the negotiating table to get an agreement that would create jobs and economic growth here at home.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey is a Republican from Pennsylvania.
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