Less than a month before the Nov. 8 election, Bluegrass Institute president Jim Waters wrote in his weekly statewide syndicated newspaper column that the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement “could especially be harmful to Kentucky farmers, who grow more than 87,000 acres of tobacco annually” by shutting the tobacco industry out of protections provided by the investor-state dispute (ISDS) mechanism.
“Carving tobacco out of the ISDS would prevent companies from seeking legal due-process relief when foreign governments take property without compensation or seize assets in the name of ‘public health,’” Waters wrote.
The Obama administration, which treated tobacco as a “hostile witness” while negotiating the TPP deal, “has given up” on the 12-nation trade deal and will not try to push it during the lame-duck session of Congress.
Unfortunately, TPP’s strong parts — including 18,000 tax cuts on American exports and $15 billion worth of tariff cuts — also become victims of the deal’s inability to garner needed political support for passage.
However, like Americans for Tax Reform’s Alexander Hendrie writes: “For free trade to work, there simply cannot be discrimination that denies investors due process protections based solely on the political ideology of one country, or the unpopularity of a product.”