Študije o koristih od TPP manipulirajo s številkami

Bilo je zgolj vprašanje časa, kdaj bo kdo to prvi izrekel. Da so namreč številke o potencialnih koristih od ameriško-pacifiškega  TPP močno prenapihnjene in da advokati sporazuma manipulirajo s številkami. Podobno velja za ameriško – evropski sporazum TTIP, pa tudi za številke glede škode, ki bi nastala zaradi Brexita (o teh manipulacijah sem pisal tukaj). Jomo Kwame Sundaram iz OZN v Project Syndicate zelo jasno pove, da bodo koristi od TPP zelo majhne in celo negativne, da so dosedanje študije manipulirale s podatki, in da TPP ni namenjen koristim potrošnikov. Pač pa ima TPP dvojni namen: (1) povečanje koristi za korporacije na škodo potrošnikov, in (2) ameriški manever, da zmanjša politični vpliv Kitajske na Pacifiku. Na drugi strani pa advokati sporazuma pod preprogo pometajo potencialne resne rizike.

The TPP’s advocates have, for years, been grossly exaggerating the deal’s projected benefits, while downplaying its potentially high risks and costs, most of which will be incurred by ordinary citizens. The reality is that the TPP will have a barely perceptible impact on GDP, benefit large corporations almost exclusively, and significantly constrain the policy space governments need to accelerate economic development and protect the public interest. 

In terms of gains, one US government study on the topic projected that, by 2025, the TPP would augment its member countries’ GDP growth by a meager 0.1% at most. More recently, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) estimated that, by 2032, the TPP would increase America’s economic growth by 0.15% ($42.7 billion) and boost incomes by 0.23% ($57.3 billion).

But TPP advocates have largely ignored these results, preferring to cite two studies by the Peterson Institute of International Economics, a well-known cheerleader for economic globalization. In 2012, the PIIE claimed that the TPP would boost total GDP in member countries by 0.4% after ten years. In January, it declared that TPP would augment total GDP by 0.5% over the next 15 years. In a World Bank study released the same month, the authors of the PIIE research projected a 1.1% average increase in GDP in TPP member countries by 2030.

Something is clearly amiss. A closer look reveals that these studies’ findings concerning the TPP’s purported benefits lack supporting economic theory, credible modeling, or empirical evidence. The only advantages presented that are consistent with mainstream research methodology are tariff-related trade benefits. But if the PIIE authors had used conventional methods to estimate total gains from trade, such benefits would comprise a very small share of the alleged gains from the TPP. According to the PIIE and the World Bank, about 85% of overall growth from the TPP is due to “non-trade measures” and related foreign investments.

Meanwhile, the studies ignore employment and income distribution – where some of the leading risks of trade liberalization lie. Instead, they simply assume that all countries are at full employment and have a consistent income distribution, trade balance, and fiscal position.

The ITC study, which used a slightly different model, predicts an increase in the trade deficit that would destroy 129,484 American jobs (yet, inexplicably, it estimates that the TPP would raise employment by 128,000 jobs). It also projects a net increase in exports of $25.2 billion in 2032 (in 2032 US dollars), a small fraction of the PIIE’s projection of $357 billion in 2030 (in 2015 dollars).

For our study, my colleagues and I used the PIIE’s own 2012 estimates of trade-related gains, despite our reservations, along with more realistic economic specifications, including for income distribution and employment. We projected downward wage pressure, which, by depressing domestic demand, would lead to lower employment and higher inequality in all country groupings. Projected job losses would total some 771,000 across the TPP countries, including 448,000 in the US alone. These losses would offset any growth benefits, with the US and Japan suffering small net income losses (-0.5% and -0.1%, respectively).

Vir: Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Project Syndicate

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