Re: “Biden must prioritize trade, Asia-Pacific leadership” [Nov. 13, Opinion]:
The usually reasonable Seattle Times editorial board makes a misleading diversion in the recent editorial on trade treaties.
Attempting to resuscitate the dead-and-buried Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would hugely undermine President-elect Joe Biden’s priorities and Democratic Party goals.
The TPP was almost universally opposed by labor, environmental, family farm and consumer organizations. Democratic opposition killed the destructive treaty in Congress in 2016.
U.S. exporters already encounter few tariffs in most TPP countries. The proposed pact was never about expanding market access but about locking in a deregulatory agenda for big corporations seeking to handcuff government’s ability to act in the public interest on food safety, pollution reduction, data privacy, public procurement, health care and other areas.
Voluntarily imposing these restraints would needlessly constrain Biden’s “Build Back Better” proposals on economic recovery, climate change and COVID-19. Rehashing division over the TPP would reduce the ability of Congressional Democrats and progressive organizations to devote full attention to getting Build Back Better programs enacted.
With an attempted TPP restart, the Democratic Party could easily be painted as prioritizing corporate profits ahead of working families. This approach could reopen the door to another Trump-like corporate nationalist in 2024 and years to follow.
Dave Felice, Clinton (Whidbey Island)