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US group sees thousands of jobs from TPP deal

US group sees thousands of jobs from TPP deal

WASHINGTON: The 12-nation Pacific trade pact would create nearly a quarter of a million US jobs due to increased foreign investment in the United States, a business group estimated on Monday, in the first look at the deal’s employment impact.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a potential legacy-defining achievement for President Barack Obama, is near completion but has run into opposition from Democrats and others who worry the deal would cost US jobs.

The Organisation for International Investment (OFII), a trade group that represents the US operations of global companies, said TPP would create 68,000 direct jobs tied to an estimated $20 billion boost in foreign direct investment.

The trade deal, which reaches from Japan to Chile, would also create another 165,000 “indirect and induced” jobs from US suppliers and other firms that employ additional workers when foreign spending in the United States increases, OFII said.

The group said California is likely to see the biggest boost in employment from TPP, followed by Texas and New York.

J. Muir Macpherson, an economist at Ernst & Young and one of the study’s authors, said the TPP would create additional benefits for companies that already invest heavily in the United States.

“(So) even a small increase in FDI in the United States from the largest investors ... would have very substantial impacts,” he said.

Democrats worry that another free trade deal would siphon away US manufacturing jobs, as the North American Free Trade Agreement did in the 1990s.

Consumer group Public Citizen criticized OFII’s report and its findings, saying other studies did not show that trade pacts like TPP actually boosted foreign investment into the United States.

“The report then translates its counterfactual hypothesis of increased foreign investment into a guesstimate of increased jobs, and then, incredibly, multiplies the spurious jobs number by three,” said Ben Beachy, research director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

Public Citizen has said trade agreements over the last 20 years have led to a net loss of nearly 5 million manufacturing jobs in the United States and depressed wages.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2015

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