The news media and advocates of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement have repeatedly described opponents of the deal as “protectionist” or opposed to trade itself.
For instance, after Donald Trump pressed Hillary Clinton to swear off passage of the deal, the New York Times reported that Trump was embracing “nationalistic anti-trade policies.” The Wall Street Journal said Trump expressed “protectionist views.” President Obama warned that you can’t withdraw “from trade deals” and focus “solely on your local market.”
But opposition to the TPP is not accurately described as opposition to all trade, or even to free trade.
In fact, the deal’s major impact would not come in the area of lowering tariffs, the most common trade barriers. The TPP is more focused on crafting regulatory regimes that benefit certain industries.
So the most consequential parts of the deal would actually undermine the free flow of goods and services by expanding some protectionist, anti-competitive policies sought by global corporations.
“We already have trade agreements with six of the 11 countries. Canada and Mexico — our two biggest trading partners — are in there. The tariffs are almost zero [with those countries] anyhow,” Dean Baker, an economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, told The Intercept. “What’s in the deal? Higher patent and copyright protection! That’s protectionism.”…Protectionism under the guise of "free trade."
Liberalization under neoliberalism is about gaining access to markets and then controlling them using rules that favor transnational capitalism at the cost of national sovereignty and democracy, e.g, by privatizing public assets and making them available to foreign investors and imposing extensive intellectual property rights and tribunals in place of courts.
This is all part of the neoliberal scam.
Despite What Media Says, TPP Isn’t About Free Trade — It’s About Protecting Corporate Profits