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Trading Away Human Rights

NEW YORK – Trade negotiators in Singapore recently failed to finalize a deal on the long-awaited Trans-Pacific Partnership; they will soon have another chance to complete what would be the world’s largest regional free-trade agreement. But, given serious concerns that the TPP will fail to consider important human-rights implications, that is no cause for celebration.

The TPP talks involve the United States, Canada, and ten other Pacific Rim countries with a combined annual output of around $26 trillion, or about 40% of global GDP. Their economic clout is matched by their ambitions; the talks go beyond traditional trade issues, which account for only five of the 29 proposed chapters, and consider a wide range of investment and regulatory issues that will affect many millions of people – and not always positively.