(CNSNews.com) - The Trans-Pacific Partnership that President Barack Obama is negotiating with 11 other nations seeks to eliminate both tariff and nontariff trade barriers with these countries, according to the Congressional Research Service. One of those countries is Vietnam, which the State Department says maintains a Communist regime.
In 2014, the U.S. ran a $24,858,700,000 trade deficit with Vietnam, according to U.S. government trade data published by the Census Bureau. U.S. producers sold $5,724,900,000 in goods to purchasers in Vietnam. At the same time, producers in Vietnam sold $30,583,600,000 in goods to purchasers in the United States.
Documents related to the TPP are currently classified. Members of Congress can only review them in a secured room. But a report published in March by the Congressional Research Service—“The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Negotiations and Issues for Congress”--describes the basic purpose of the deal the administration is seeking.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a potential free trade agreement (FTA) among 12, and perhaps more, countries,” says the CRS report “The United States and 11 other countries of the Asia-Pacific region—Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam—are negotiating the text of the FTA. With over 20 chapters under negotiation, the TPP partners envision the agreement to be ‘comprehensive and high-standard,’ in that they seek to eliminate tariffs and nontariff barriers to trade in goods, services, and agriculture, and to establish or expand rules on a wide range of issues including intellectual property rights, foreign direct investment, and other trade-related issues. They also strive to create a ‘21st-century agreement’ that addresses new and cross-cutting issues presented by an increasingly globalized economy.”
The most recent State Department Country Report on Human Rights in Vietnam presents the U.S. government’s assessment of the political system in that country.
“The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is an authoritarian state ruled by a single party, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), led by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, and President Truong Tan Sang,” says the State Department report. “The most recent National Assembly elections, held in 2011, were neither free nor fair.”
The State Department report also commented on labor conditions in Vietnam.
“The government maintained limits on workers’ rights to form and join independent unions and did not enforce safe and healthy working conditions adequately,” said the report. “Child labor persisted.”