The TPP covers a bewildering range of topics. In addition to conventional trade issues like tariff rates, it includes language on labor rights, environmental laws, copyright and patent protections, e-commerce, state-owned enterprises, corruption, and government procurement.
Trade deals like the TPP have grown so complex because the global trade community has figured out how to solve a problem that has bedeviled philosophers and political leaders for centuries: how to craft international agreements with teeth. The WTO's dispute-settlement process, which serves as a model for the TPP, puts pressure on countries to actually keep the promises they make in trade deals. That's why everyone with an agenda — wealthy investors, drug companies, labor unions, environmental groups, and so on — is scrambling to get on the bandwagon.
But the complex, secretive, and anti-democratic way the TPP is being crafted rubs a lot of people the wrong way. The agreement will have profound and long-lasting effects on countries that sign on, yet voters in those countries won't even be allowed to see the text until negotiations are over and it's too late to make changes. No wonder so many groups — the AFL-CIO, civil liberties groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and even the free traders at the Cato Institute — have been raising concerns about it. – Vox.com, April 17, 2015
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