Asia-Pacific pact will boost US exports, wages, report says

Asia-Pacific pact will boost US exports, wages, report says

An expansive Asia-Pacific trade agreement will boost the paychecks of U.S. workers, increase exports and grow the economy, according to a new economic report.

Implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal will raise U.S. annual incomes by $131 billion and annual exports by $357 billion — a 9.1 percent increase — in 2030, with similar gains to follow, according to the report, released Monday by Peter Petri and Michael Plummer with the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

"This independent analysis shows that TPP will raise wages for American workers, grow our economy, and help farmers and businesses export more ‘Made in America’ products,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael FromanMichael B.G. FromanUS will investigate aluminum imports as national security hazard Overnight Finance: WH floats Mexican import tax | Exporters move to back GOP tax proposal | Dems rip Trump adviser's Goldman Sachs payout Froman heads to Council on Foreign Relations MORE.

Delaying enactment, which the report assumes happens in 2017 based on the established two-year timeline, would deliver a damaging blow to the U.S. economy, however. If the TPP is slowed by even a year, the United States will see an estimated one-time loss of $77 billion, or about a $600 loss on average for every household, the report said. 

Froman said the analysis “offers clear evidence that TPP is an answer to challenges on how middle class workers will compete at home and how our nation's economy will compete abroad."

"Importantly, it also shows that sitting on the sideline and delaying TPP, even for a short time, will cost us dearly,” he said.

The United States would see compounding losses and be put at a disadvantage in global trade negotiations if the 12-nation deal gets pushed back, the report said. There also is concern that unforeseen political challenges or “competing trade projects may also erode decisions in partner countries, further increasing the costs from delaying TPP ratification.”  

President Obama is urging Congress to pass the agreement this year but has struggled to sell the deal to his own party.

Many congressional Democrats argue that the deal hurts U.S. workers and lowers their wages. 

But the Peterson report found that even though the TPP will cause jobs to shift into faster-growing businesses, the deal will have no effect on overall unemployment.

“While the TPP is not likely to affect overall employment in the United States, it will involve adjustment costs as U.S. workers and capital move from less to more productive firms and industries,” the report said.

Estimates are that 53,700 U.S. jobs will be affected each year during implementation of the TPP.

In 2014, 55.5 million American workers changed jobs in that manner “so the transition effects of the TPP would represent only less than 0.1 percent increase in labor market churn in a typical year,” according to the report. 

But the report notes that “some workers may face difficult transitions” and that the costs to them could be high, so U.S. policymakers would need to step in to make sure programs are available to help them during the process.

Overall, the report concludes that the TPP appears to have met its two most important negotiating objectives: the deal will substantially benefit the 12 trading partners and it sets out an ambitious set of global trade rules that have “raced far ahead of the WTO rulebook, including services, investment, telecommunications, the digital economy and other critical industries.”

"If the TPP is ratified and implemented smoothly, these rules will renew progress, now stalled for more than two decades, in strengthening the world trading system,” the report said.

While the United States will be the TPP’s largest beneficiary “in absolute terms,” “the agreement will generate substantial gains for Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam as well, and solid benefits for other members.”

The Peterson report is the first of several expected out on the trade agreement. The group is putting out a second report in early February. 

The International Trade Commission has said that its economic report is due out by mid-May, setting a firmer timeline for when Congress would consider the deal. 

House leaders such as Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRepublicans are avoiding gun talks as election looms The Hill's 12:30 Report Flake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan MORE (R-Wis.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyTrump gets recommendation for steep curbs on imported steel, risking trade war Business groups pressing for repeal of ObamaCare employer mandate Watchdog: IRS issued bonuses to employees with conduct issues MORE (R-Texas) have touted the potential benefits of the agreement and have sounded eager to take a vote, but have said they plan to thoroughly evaluate the deal first.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (R-Ky.) has said that a vote likely won’t happen until after the elections or possibly next year.

Estimates for the U.S. growth under TPP are 35 percent higher than those reported by Peterson in 2012, primarily because of the inclusion of new data such as the effects of non-tariff barriers on trade in existing agreements.

The model projects global growth and trade between 2015 and 2030 and holds employment and trade balances unchanged.

The model weighs the effects of the 63 regional trade agreements that have been concluded among TPP partners as the baseline for its assumptions and examines projected changes in tariff and non-tariff barriers as well as barriers on foreign direct investment. The model also is run with the barriers projected under the TPP and the results are compared to the baseline solution.