Above: Slaves in the fishing industry, more beneficiaries of free trade
Seafood industry publications are already talking up the expansion of Vietnamese fish exports under the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
But what guarantees will there be that the people producing this fish are not slaves, an endemic problem throughout southeast Asia? What kind of enforcement mechanism will there be? How will Vietnamese workers be able to protect their rights? How will American consumers know that their fish was not produced by slaves? What recourse will anyone have to solve these problems? The answer to these questions are none, none, none, we won’t, and none. This fundamentally is the problem with the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade deals. Now that we know that the Obama Administration is actually fighting European nations to lower their standards for the TTIP, we should feel all the stronger for rejecting these deals. With real enforcement standards that gave workers, citizens, and consumers rights to prosecute enforcement of meaningful standards, these agreements might be something to support. But as they stand, there is no reason to think that our fish will not be produced with slave labor under the TPP.