CNN does TPP

In a mock wistful tone, CNN reports that the TPP trade agreement is going into effect without the participation of the U.S.:

A major 11-country agreement goes into effect Sunday, reshaping trade rules among economic powerhouses like Japan, Canada, Mexico and Australia — but the United States won’t be a part of it.

That means that Welch’s grape juice, Tyson’s pork and California almonds will remain subject to tariffs in Japan, for example, while competitors’ products from countries participating in the new Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership will eventually be duty-free.

Who’s to blame for the U.S. being left behind? Not the Democrats. President Trump:

It’s the opposite of what the Obama administration planned when it began negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, known as TPP. The proposed deal. . .was one of the first things President Donald Trump moved to undo when he took office, pulling the United States out of the deal in January of 2017.

Missing from CNN’s report, by Katie Lobosco, are (1) any reference to the arguments in favor of the U.S. not participating in the TPP, (2) any attempt to demonstrate that, on balance, the deal was a good one for America, and (3) any acknowledgement that both major Democratic candidates for president in 2016, including the eventual nominee, also opposed the TPP.

Presumably, the arguments against the TPP are non-frivolous. Otherwise, it’s unlikely that all three of the serious candidates for president in 2012 — a conservative, a liberal, and a socialist — would have opposed the treaty.

I favored the deal. Not so that Welch’s grape juice and Tyson’s pork can avoid tariffs in Japan. If there’s a favorable trade deal to be had with Japan, President Trump can make it without the TPP.

I favored the deal as a means of countering China in the Pacific region. But reasonable people can believe that the TPP was sufficiently unfavorable to the U.S. to justify rejecting it regardless of any potential geo-political advantage. That’s why the agreement lacked broad support from either political party.

I’m not going to debate the merits of the TPP here. My point is simply that CNN’s story is sophomoric and one-sided. It’s just another anti-Trump hit piece, not a serious report about the TPP.

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