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22 Dec, 2013

U.S.-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership is a corporatist power grab – Sydney Morning Herald

by William Pesek

Self-awareness often eludes US officials who push American interests on Asia. John Kerry’s visit to Vietnam was a case in point, as the Secretary of State implored the government to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

In his pitch earlier this week, Kerry said the US-led trade deal would bring ”transparency” and ”accountability” to the communist nation, helping it become a more open society that supports free expression. An odd thought, considering the Big Brother-like secrecy enshrouding the treaty on the US side.

The pro-TPP argument goes as follows: This is the moment Asia’s reformers have been waiting for. It is a chance for Japan to take on vested interests, Malaysia to kill growth-stifling affirmative-action policies, Vietnam to rein in bloated state-owned enterprises and Singapore to spur innovation. Think of TPP as an economic Trojan horse – a means of shaking up stagnant political systems by stealth.

Read the rest: Trade secrets: why is the US so quiet on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?.