The Majority of Americans Actually Support the TPP

In the last few months, President Obama has had a difficult time getting support for his trade agenda. This is evident by key leaders in his own party who did not vote to grant him trade promotion authority. Additionally, there appears to be a strong resistance to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) by some Democrats, labor organizations and civil society groups.

Contrary to this resistence, research actually shows a strong support for the TPP.

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According to a late 2013 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 55% of Americans supported the TPP. Only 25% viewed the TPP as bad for the United States, and 19% did not have an opinion.

This support, according to the same survey, comes from Americans interested in deepening trade with Japan. Japan is the second largest economy among the 12 negotiating members of the TPP. (See President Obama’s Trip to Asia: Where the TPP Stands Now)

The study also contradicts the recent public letters written and signed by a number of members of Congress, including those within the Democratic Party. Whereas, many Democratic congress members have opposed the TPP and trade promotion authority, the Pew survey found that Democrats were more favorable of the TPP than Republicans with 59% to 49% respectively.

While the anti-free trade rhetoric makes the headlines, the Pew Research Center study suggests that many Americans actually understand the benefits and support the TPP.

These results raise interesting questions about the public versus private views on free trade agreements. Secondly, public outcry just seems to get even louder as free trade becomes more politicized during this year’s midterm elections. (See Democrats link trade to campaign issues) Perhaps, that is the result of members of Congress running for re-election and those seeking to replace incumbents seek to satisfy their constituents and donors, many of whom may not support the TPP.

Where do you stand on the TPP?

Read more of the survey results here

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About Dr. Sarita D. Jackson

is the President and CEO of the Global Research Institute of International Trade, a think-tank/consulting firm that examines trade policies and their impact on domestic businesses. Prior to heading GRIIT, Dr. Jackson was a tenured associate professor of political science in North Carolina and worked as a trade policy consultant for an Arlington-based consulting firm. She has participated in trade policy projects and conducted research on free trade negotiations in Botswana, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Panama. Dr. Jackson has also traveled to Chile and Argentina to study their political systems and economic integration policies.
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