WASHINGTON—The U.S. International Trade Commission's report on the projected economic impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership validates the United Steelworkers union's position that the trade agreement is “not worth passing,” the union said.
“This report as mandated by law indicates the TPP will produce almost no benefits but inflict real harm on so many workers,” USW International President Leo W. Gerard said in a statement issued May 18, the same day that the U.S. International Trade Commission issued its report on the TPP.
The full report is nearly 800 pages and will take some time to digest, Gerard noted.
“But the executive summary paints a grim picture for domestic manufacturing producers and workers,” he said. “While proponents have sung the agreement's praises, the report estimates that output in manufacturing, natural resources and energy would be lower as a result of the TPP. That's just totally unacceptable.”
The USW passed a formal resolution urging rejection of the TPP in December 2015, just after Congress granted President Obama fast-track authority on the trade agreement. Fast-track authority means that Congress may vote to approve or reject the TPP, but it may not amend the agreement.
A total of 12 nations, together accounting for 36 percent of global Gross Domestic Product in 2014, are party to the agreement, according to the ITC report.
“The overall impact of the TPP agreement would be small as a percentage of the overall size of the U.S. economy,” according to the report's executive summary. Countries that do not currently have free trade agreements with the U.S.—Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Vietnam—will benefit more, the report said.
ITC estimates in the report show U.S. real income growing by 0.23 percent in 2032 on account of the TPP. That growth becomes 0.28 percent in 2047, according to the report.
Real GDP will grow 0.15 percent by 2032 and 0.18 percent by 2047 because of the TPP, the report said. U.S. employment will grow 0.07 percent by 2032 and 0.09 percent by 2047 from the agreement, it said.
“The TPP rules of origin could have a negative impact on U.S. production of certain auto parts, but also facilitate U.S. vehicle exports,” the report said.
It estimated that U.S. passenger vehicle output would increase $1.6 billion or 0.3 percent higher than the baseline estimate in 2032. Output of auto parts, however, would fall $1.4 billion or 0.3 percent by 2032, it said.
The TPP includes several labor provisions not included in any previous U.S. trade agreement, according to the report. These include requirements for workplace health and safety regulations, work hour limits and minimum wages, it said.
“TPP labor obligations would not require changes in U.S. law, so would likely have little effect on working conditions in the United States,” it said.