The Obama Administration’s “See-No-Evil” Approach to the TPP

Ignoring Malaysia’s Mass Graves, Brunei’s Anti-LGBT Law, Vietnam’s Child Labor…

By Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch

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Just after the discovery of mass graves for human trafficking victims in Malaysia, the Obama administration has decided to remove Malaysia from the State Department’s list of the world’s worst human trafficking offenders. Members of Congress, leading human rights organizations and religious groups have denounced the shocking move as a cynical bid to salvage the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would grant Malaysia privileged access to the U.S. market.

By turning a blind eye to Malaysia’s grave human trafficking abuses for the sake of the TPP, the Obama administration has already belied its hollow claim that the TPP would “reflect our values, especially when it comes to making progress on human rights.”

If the Obama administration is willing to ignore mass graves in Malaysia’s human trafficking camps, why should members of Congress believe the administration’s promises to include, much less enforce, human rights protections or labor and environmental standards in the TPP? Below is a sample of just some of the widespread abuses for which TPP countries have become even more notorious during the TPP negotiations. Despite the administration’s claims that the TPP would curb such violations, the deal replicates provisions from past trade pacts that have failed to curb on-the-ground offenses. The administration’s “seeno-evil” approach to Malaysia offers more evidence that this failed track record would persist under the TPP.