Obama Still Pushing TPP Hard; Campaign Led by Citibank’s Froman

Obama Still Pushing TPP Hard; Campaign Led by Citibank’s Froman

Nov 3 2016

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, evidently from an interview with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, that President Obama remains on a full-court press to try to get a vote for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “trade agreement” in the November-December lame duck session of Congress. Obama’s TPP is really no free trade agreement at all, but a carte blanche for multinational banks and corporations to change national laws, and/or be immunized from national laws which would regulate them. Most onerous are the virtually eternal patent protections from competition which TPP would grant to pharmaceutical giants, and the “Investor-State Resolution Mechanism,” which would allow multinationals to complain to international panels of corporate lawyers, to have national laws (such as, for instance, Glass-Steagall laws) set aside.

In a last attempt to ram TPP through as part of his malign “legacy,” Obama is relying mainly on Republicans. The Journal notes that Donald Trump’s strong opposition to TPP has turned about a dozen Republicans who voted to give Obama “fast track” authority, into “no” votes on TPP. Froman, who is leading the blitz, has already met with more than 100 House and Senate Republicans, he claims; Obama is having overlapping meetings. To Obama’s tired “block China’s influence” argument, is being added the insistence that TPP be voted up before Trump or Clinton have a chance to kill it.

Froman in 2008 was the top Citibank executive who proposed and vetted a large number of Obama’s first Cabinet appointments. The Wikileaks releases of hacked e-mails of John Podesta, show that Robert Rubin, current Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, and Froman dominated Obama’s transition process while all three were still decision-makers at Citigroup, running the bank that had destroyed Glass-Steagall and then destroyed itself. As FDIC Chair Sheila Bair wrote in her later book,

“If you wanted to make a definitive list of all the bad practices that had led to the crisis, all you had to do was look at Citi’s financial strategies.”

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