I don’t have much to say about today that others haven’t said. But this jumped out at me from the Herald’s overview of the signing ceremony:
Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade and Industry, Mustapa Mohamed, said that the debate in his country has produced no shortage of critics with studies and projections downplaying the economic gains.
But you either listened to those who produced studies based on models and assumptions, he said. Or you listened to those on the ground doing business.
“For us in Malaysia we’ve been talking to people in industry and businesses and we know they are looking forward to it.”
A crucial thing to grasp here is that the critical economic models and the optimistic businesses can both be right. The TPPA could be a genuinely terrible deal for the people and economy of any given signatory but a fantastic deal for the various corporations who are close to that government and able to influence its negotiating position.
Since negotiations involve concessions and tradeoffs, and corporations and lobbyists could access all of the parties involved and influence the talks, and everyone else was totally locked out, this was always the most likely outcome of the process.