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Obama's "21st Century Trade Deals" Look a Lot Like the Same Bad Policies He Campaigned Against

Starting this week in Chicago, the US will be hosting the first major trade negotiations since the "Battle in Seattle" World Trade Organisation talks came here in 1999.

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Then, with the power to sue other governments that try to regulate in hand, the US proposals would force trading partners to open their financial services sectors to the very companies that brought us the recent financial crisis. Such provisions fly in the face of recommendations on investment from a group of over 250 US and globally renowned economists, recommendations that merely echoed those from some of the members of President Obama's own state department panel named to review the US language.

At this point, US proposals for the TPP hardly break from the Nafta mold, and many weaken or eliminate the few important advances we've seen since Nafta in US trade proposals. Like Nafta, current US proposals fail to account for asymmetries among trading partners and restrict the ability of the US and its trading partners to provide the regulations that their democracies want to enable financial stability, economic growth and jobs.

Timothy A. Wise is the Director of the Research and Policy Program at the Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University. He leads the Institute’s Globalization and Sustainable Development Program.

Kevin Gallagher is professor of international relations at Boston University and a research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute.

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