The prime minister of Japan tells us what is really in TPP
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Supporters of President Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would like you to believe the agreement will have no impact on our immigration laws. Its chief salesman in the House, Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHouse Ethics Committee informs Duncan Hunter he can no longer vote after guilty plea Duncan Hunter pleads guilty after changing plea Trump campaign steps up attacks on Biden MORE (R-Wis.), characterizes the immigration provisions as an "urban legend."

This glib dismissal runs contrary to the U.S. Trade Representative's (USTR) own website, which says an entire chapter of the agreement deals with temporary entry workers, a group once known as migrant workers. It also runs counter to the historical record: Earlier trade agreements with Chile and Singapore and South Korea all expanded the number of foreign workers allowed into the U.S.


After reading the text of the TPP agreement in the basement of the Capitol, Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsLisa Page sues DOJ, FBI over alleged privacy violations Sessions leads GOP Senate primary field in Alabama, internal poll shows Trump rebukes FBI chief Wray over inspector general's Russia inquiry MORE (R-Ala.) stated his concerns that the president could use TPP to advance his immigration agenda.

But it is the White House itself that provides the most troubling evidence that TPP is about opening our borders to the free movement of people as well as goods.

In a White House news conference with President Obama on April 28, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan explicitly told us that TPP is about creating "a new economic sphere in which people goods and money will flow freely in the Asia-Pacific region" (emphasis added). Notably, the White House did not say Abe was wrong.

Abe is not some naive bystander; aside from the U.S, Japan is the most important participant in TPP.

The prime minister's words were neither accidental nor arbitrary — they come right out of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community, today's European Union, based on the free flow of people, goods and money.

The similarities between the goals of the EU and the TPP don't end there. The common market was established as an open-ended project, while the TPP is, according to the USTR, a "living agreement" that can be updated "to address trade issues that emerge in the future as well as new issues that arise with the expansion of the agreement to include new countries." Like the EU, the Trans-Pacific Partnership allows other countries to join — without renegotiating the pact or approval by the U.S. Congress. (The administration has said China could become a member of TPP.)

The full implications of the TPP as a "living agreement" are only properly understood in context of the European common market, which had the free flow of people, goods and money as its foundation and goal. From a humble birth as a simple pact among a few European nations to remove tariffs on coal and steel, the European Economic Community grew over time into a supranational bureaucracy that writes food, energy, immigration, tax and investment policies binding for all member countries.

Putting aside similarities between TPP and the genesis of the EU, what can't be ignored is that TPP goes far beyond previous trade agreements. This is a feature, not a bug, according to its supporters.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is one of the largest international agreements in the history of the United States. We should believe Obama when he says it will be the "most progressive trade agreement in history." We should believe him when he says it will have enforceable rules on labor, energy and the environment. We should believe him when he says it will enable him to "write rules for the world's economy."

Then we must ask: Why would conservatives want to fast-track an agreement negotiated by President Obama that they can't thoroughly study and that they can't amend?

Ellis is executive director of the American Jobs Alliance, an independent, nonpartisan not-for-profit organization.