The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Rise of a Global Corporatist Empire

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is a recent trade agreement that’s creating worldwide controversy. Some experts say that it will bring about the rise of a global corporatist empire while others claim that the deal will increase the wealth of the nations that enter into it and improve the lives of everyday people. The agreement establishes a free trade zone in the area surrounding the Pacific to unite 12 countries that make up about 40 percent of the world’s economy.

What are the Critics Saying about the TPP and the Rise of a Corporatist Empire?

When the TPP was first introduced, its terms and confidentiality alarmed media organizations and even a few American senators. Bloomberg1 referred to the deal as a “corporatist power grab” while Senator Elizabeth Warren expressed concern about the secrecy surrounding the terms of the TPP. She said, “The deal has to be kept secret because if the American people knew what was actually in it, they would be opposed.”

The trade agreement includes a dispute provision that could harm the country’s legal system and encourage the rise of a global corporatist empire. Some reports claim that with the provision in place, companies and investors would have the power to contest regulations, court rulings and government actions. According to critics, the dispute provision gives corporations the ability to sue for the loss of future profits when laws or regulations interfere with them.

Critics claim that the TPP will cause more American jobs to be sent overseas. It could also give corporations the power to attack the health and environmental safeguards that are currently in place. Fewer safeguards could result in a flood of unsafe food into the country. The trade agreement has the potential to roll back Wall Street regulations and cause the price of medication to increase by preventing the availability of generic drugs.

Industry experts are saying that the deal prioritizes corporate interests instead of supporting the kind of free trade that inspires competition and benefits consumers. An example of this is an incident that recently happened in Ecuador. When Chevron destroyed major portions of the country’s rainforest, Ecuador’s court system ordered the company to pay billions, but after a private arbitration panel was brought in, Chevron was able to ignore the order.

What About the Trade Agreement’s Proponents?

Supporters of the TPP argue that the deal will boost exports and reinforce well-paid jobs in America. The United States Chamber of Commerce confirmed that it completed a study of the deal’s impact on the nation’s jobs. The study confirmed that five million American jobs are connected to extending exports to Mexico and Canada, so more jobs would be created.

CNN2 reports that the TPP may bring lower prices to the United States. This would help consumers and businesses. The deal may allow manufacturers to use cheaper raw materials or imported parts making them more competitive. Some economists support the free trade deal. The ones who do support it believe that the TPP will improve the nation’s overall wealth even if America loses a few low-wage jobs to overseas workers.

The TPP Could Empower Developing Nations as it Strengthens Corporations

Since China did not enter into the trade agreement, there is speculation that the TPP could help developing countries like Vietnam grab some of China’s trade market. Others believe that China and a few other powerful nations will be tempted into the deal. If they are brought in, the rise of a global corporatist power is even more likely.

According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative3, the TPP will make it easier for small business owners, American entrepreneurs and farmers to sell their products to foreign countries. It does this by getting rid of more than 18,000 different taxes along with other trade obstacles that are in place for American-made products. For years, these obstacles have unfairly disadvantaged the country’s manufacturing industry.

Where Do Things Stand with the TPP?

Legislative support for the TPP is still hard to come by. John Veroneau, a former deputy United States trade representative and a partner at Covington and Burling, weighed in on the deal passing. He said, “In the end, any vote on TPP would be extremely close whether it is this year or the following year, and ultimately, local issues will be determinative in how members vote.” If the trade agreement goes into effect, will it bring about the rise of a global corporatist empire? It seems possible, but only time will tell. To read more about the TPP, visit the

  1. Bloomberg
  2. CNN
  3. Office of the United States Trade Representative