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SD Ag Summit Part 2: The push for TPP by Under Secretary Scuse

July 8, 2014
FFAS Under Secretary Scuse speaking in Deadwood. Photo by Ken Santema.

FFAS Under Secretary Scuse speaking in Deadwood. Photo by Ken Santema.

This is part 2 in a series of posts coming out of the Governors Agricultural Summit in Deadwood, South Dakota. In part 1 I had a few thoughts about Ag Secretary Lentch’s State of Aagricure Address. In this post I had planned to provide a few thoughts on the Farm Bill Update session of the Summit. But a topic was mentioned during the session that changed my mind. The guest speaker for this session was Michael Scuse, the Under Secretary  for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, US Department of Agriculture (that title was almost long enough to be its own blog post). It should be noted that Scuse has a long history of working in the agricultural or economic development fields.

Really there is only topic I want to go into from his presentation: the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). For anyone that wants to see Scuse’s whole presentation the video of his presentation can be viewed here (about 35 minutes long).  Scuse talk about TPP and the Transatlantic Trade Agreement (TAFTA, aka US-EU FTA) at about the 28 minute mark. The reference to TPP was short, which is troubling because it would have dramatic impacts upon the United States. I haven’t researched TAFTA too much yet, but I fear many of the problem with TPP likely exist with TAFTA. CATO had a good, bad, and the ugly post on TAFTA a couple of years ago.

I first wrote about TPP this spring in reaction to the SD Legislature passing a concurrent resolution promoting TPP. I still feel TPP is bad. In that post I pointed out TPP would put serious freedom of speech, privacy rights, and due process restrictions on all member states (including the United States). This would essentially be a way to curtail the rights of US Citizens through means of a trade agreement. In addition the whole process used for TPP is completely secret. All we know about TPP so far is from leaked documents. That is no way for an open government to behave.

A little over a month ago I did a second post on TPP. That post focused on preventing Congresswoman Noem and President Obama from fastracking TPP. Here are just three of the points I made in that post that I think are worth repeating about TPP:

  • TPP is NOT just a trade agreement, at least not in the traditional sense. TPP also includes provisions on regulations and laws that must be adhered to by countries joining the agreement. That would mean the US would have to abide by the regulations set forth, even though they have never been vetted in public or debated in Congress.
  • TPP has 29 chapters included in it. Most of those chapters have nothing to do with ‘trade’.
  • The scope and scale of TPP is unprecedented. Even if there is good portions of TPP, I cannot understand anyone that would support such a massive agreement (it would be a “sign it to see whats in it” type of action by Congress).

It is troubling that Scuse would promote an agreement such as TPP. Such a move makes it appear that his love of farm subsidies outweighs the civic rights of American citizens. But I’m glad he mentioned it in his presentation. It allows more people to learn about TPP and possibly prevent Congress from getting the United States into another large piece of legislation without actually reading it….

PS. Here is an infographic I found about TPP from OpenMedia.org. It highlights some of the IP problems with TPP:

TPP infographic provided by OpenMedia.org

TPP infographic provided by OpenMedia.org

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