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Forecasting the future of free trade in California and the potential statewide impact of TPP

People hold signs against the Trans Pacific Partnership during the Democratic National Convention. The TPP has become a hot-button issue.
People hold signs against the Trans Pacific Partnership during the Democratic National Convention. The TPP has become a hot-button issue.

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With the sixth-largest economy in the world, it’s safe to say that there’s plenty at stake when we talk about the future of free trade in California and what the potential impact of the ratification (or lack thereof) of the massive trade deal known as TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

While it’s currently stalled, waiting for Congressional approval, there has been plenty of discussion of not only the landmark agreement, but also the future of free trade in the global economy and what role the United States will play in it all. Whether or not TPP is ratified will determine a lot about the future of American factory and manufacturing jobs, relations with countries along the Pacific Rim and in South America, what our country imports and exports and in what volume, and what the United States place in world trade will be in the years to come. Here in California, tens of thousands of people and jobs are contingent on goods moving through major ports like Los Angeles and Long Beach.

NPR’s affiliate series ‘A Nation Engaged’ continues today as AirTalk explores what the future of free trade looks like in California and around the world.

What role will the TPP play in determining the future of California’s economy? What would a move away from free trade look like, both locally and nationally? What would happen if trade partners became former trade partners and decided to retaliate?


Jock O’Connell, international trade adviser for Beacon Economics

Elsadig Elsheikh, director of the Global Justice Program at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley; he co-authored a study released in May called “The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Corporations Before People and Democracy

Michael Camuñez, president and CEO of ManattJones Global Strategies, a firm that advises companies doing business in Mexico; he is also a former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for the International Trade Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce

Ilse Metchek, president of the California Fashion Association

Series: A Nation Engaged

NPR and KPCC's coverage of critical issues facing the nation before November's presidential election. The stories seek to build a nationwide conversation around these issues, focusing on a specific question each time.

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