Thursday, January 19, 2017

Protesting the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Tampa.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) writes the rules for global trade—rules that were originally intended to increase made-in-America exports, grow the American economy, support well-paying American jobs, and strengthen the American middle class. The TPP is a trade agreement that brings together 12 countries along the Pacific Rim, in what would be the world’s largest free trade area, accounting for 40 percent of the global economy.

On the drive on to a Tampa protest, however, I was told there are economic reasons to believe that TPP will not only fail to provide the promised benefits but actually make things worse. TPP reduces tariffs between partnering countries but tariffs are already low. A more expensive dollar makes imports cheaper and exports less competitive in foreign markets. the result of that is of course corporations sending jobs over seas. Critics of the TPP reference the failures of NAFTA, which was first conceived during this period by the original champion of trickle-down, Ronald Reagan. Leading up to the 1994 elections, NAFTA garnered bipartisan support. Global Trade Watch’s assessment of NAFTA’s “20 year legacy” demonstrated that an estimated one million jobs have been lost to NAFTA.

Several dozen protesters gathered in Tampa to Protest TPP on a rainy Thursday. Banners were unfurled in a strip mall parking lot and then protesters marched a long a busy street as the rain fell harder. Police kept a polite distance. I resisted sketching until protesters gathered in a public park. It poured. The demonstration then moved to a building where a meeting about the partnership was taking place. The protesters were kept at a distance a way from the building entrance in the rain. A few cars honked their support. It is hard say if this protest made a difference but it is good to know people don't take destructive policies and back room politics lying down.

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