(Akahata: June 19, 2015—p. 8)
The U.S. Congress is now adrift over the “Trade Promotion Authority” (TPA) bill handing special authorization to the president in Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP) negotiations. That is apparently because the U.S. public is against the TPP and other similar free trade agreements (FTA), reasoning that they will “lose jobs” and “sustain wage cuts,” recent U.S. public opinion surveys found.
According to findings released June 3 by the New York Times, a U.S. newspaper, from its opinion poll, 22% said the TPP will result in reducing the nation’s employment, with 29% saying there will be no change and 16% saying it will lead to more jobs. In the survey, respondents were also asked whether they approve of the TPP. In response to this question, a total of 55%, more than half of those who responded to the survey, answered in the negative, with a total of 42% in the affirmative. Meanwhile, there is an opinion suggesting the need for the United States to restrict trade to protect domestic industries. In the survey, respondents were asked whether they agree with this opinion. In the breakdown of answers to this question, “yes” accounted for a total of 63% and “no” for a total of 30%. When asked whether they know anything about the TPP itself, 48% said they “know nothing about it,” with 30% saying they “know little about it.” Among other answers, “16% said they “know something about it,” with 6% saying they “know much about it.” The survey results reflect the fact that the TPP talks are held behind closed doors.
In the meantime, the Pew Research Center, a U.S. think tank specializing in probing public attitudes at home and abroad, conducted a public opinion survey and released its results on May 27. According to the survey results, a total of 46% said FTAs will result in causing American workers to lose their jobs, with a total of 28% saying there will be no change and a total of 17% saying there will be more jobs. When asked about wages, a total of 46% said their earnings would “go down,” with 33% saying there will be “no change” and 11% saying their earnings would “go up.” Respondents were also asked about the economy. In the breakdown of answers to this question, a total of 34% said the economy would “slow down,” with a total of 25% saying there will be “no change” and a total of 31% saying the economy will “grow.”
NBC News also conducted a public opinion survey. According to its results released June 9, an overwhelming majority, 66%, said they think the United States “should restrict imports from foreign countries in order to protect its domestic industries and employment,” with a total of 31% saying the United States “should allow imports and free trade so U.S. consumers can buy foreign products at low prices.”
New York Times poll
Pew Research Center poll