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The U.S. International Trade Commission Report
Posted On: May 26, 2016

The U.S. International Trade Commission Report

Last week, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) released “the” big, government study about the projected affects of the TPP — something that’s already gotten considerable attention from Congress and the media.  Despite a long history of grossly overestimating the benefits and underestimating the costs of proposed trade agreements, the ITC's projections show significant costs associated with the TPP and almost non-existent benefits.  That the ITC is saying this should be a major red flag.  

Among the ITC’s findings are that:

  • The TPP would increase the U.S. global trade deficit by $21.7 billion by 2032.

  • That TPP would worsen the balance of trade for 65% of the U.S. economic sectors it chose to feature, including vehicles, wheat, corn, auto parts, titanium products, chemicals, seafood, textiles and apparel, rice and even financial services.  While manufacturing would take a major wallop, even the overall U.S. services trade balance is projected to worsen, with losses in the majority of service industries.

  • The projected economic gains under the TPP are a minuscule 0.15% by the year 2032, which some have called the equivalent of a rounding error.  Put another way, the ITC projects that the United States would be as wealthy on January 1, 2032 with the TPP as it would be on February 15, 2032 without it.  

We need to be pushing these findings with Congress members, many of whom may only read the ITC's muddled executive summary — or worse — just hear spin about the study from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.  Congress members need to be asked whether a trade agreement that the ITC, with its record of overestimating the benefits of trade agreements, finds will have almost no benefits, weighs against the shared concerns being raised by civil society organizations about the TPP’s very real threats to jobs and wages, inequality, the environment, food safety and public health.  

ACTION ITEM:  Please deliver the attached chart about the ITC report to your U.S. Representative by scheduling a meeting during the upcoming Memorial Day Congressional Recess; by searching their website for an upcoming Town Hall event you can attend; by dropping by their district office; and/or by emailing it to staff with a personalized note.  Please email with a report on your efforts so we can keep track.  (And, while any of those steps would be more effective, you can also email your Members of Congress about the ITC report online here.)

For more analysis of the ITC report, check out Global Trade Watch’s detailed press release, Jared Bernstein’s article “Big Report, Little Finding,” and the AFL-CIO’s memo on the report (attached).

In light of the ITC’s finding that the TPP offers significant costs, and few benefits, expect TPP proponents to continue shifting to a “China” argument in support of the deal.  To rebut those points, listen to the recording of last month’s briefing by Mike Wessel on that exact subject, as wells as Global Trade Watch’s factsheet “Uses and Abuses of China Claims in TPP Sales Pitch."

Other Requested Information

  • Top line analysis of the TPP text can be found online here.

  • Here’s the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign’s candidate questions from Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.  (Donald Trump failed to respond.)

Here’s an example of how your work dampened coverage of corporate lobbyists’ letter in support of the TPP.

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