How The Trans-Pacific Partnership Would Affect Indiana
A massive trade deal that would impact Indiana’s economy is in limbo.
President Obama and Congress are battling over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has been in the works for nearly a decade.
Earlier this week, the Senate voted against giving President Obama ‘fast-track authority’ that would make it easier to finalize negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The deal would establish trade rules for the twelve countries involved – which encompass about 40-percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product.
Obama wanted Congress to give him the authority to negotiate the specifics of the partnership up until the end, then take an up or down vote on the partnership without offering any amendments – something the president says has to happen in order for the deal to move forward.
But, several members of the president’s own party raised concerns about the partnership and voted against fast-tracking the process.
Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) was one of them.
In a statement, he said, “When Hoosier workers lose nearly every time our country signs a new trade agreement, as a U.S. Senator, you don’t give up your ability to offer amendments to help our state’s businesses and workers. You don’t give up your seat at the table. You fight for a better deal.”
That’s welcome news to some unions, including United Food and Commercial Workers Local 75, which represents workers in several Midwest states including Indiana.
They say the partnership doesn’t provide environmental or employment protections and therefore could cost the U.S. jobs.
But, Indiana Farm Bureau Policy Adviser Kyle Cline says the partnership would benefit Hoosier farmers by making it cheaper for them to sell their products overseas.
"We’re already trading with these partners … we’re able to be in those markets," Cline says. "TPP gives us an opportunity to reduce those tariffs, which will result in additional sales for our farm products in Indiana and we’ll feel the economic benefits here close to home. "
While China is not part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, economists say this is a strategic move in that direction on the U.S.’s part.