Obama really wants the Trans Pacific Partnership to pass. In fact, it seems like he wants it so badly that he might even be putting politics above facts. 

Reuters reports that the United States has bumped Malaysia up from a Tier 3 country to a Tier 2 country on the U.S. State Department's annual human 'Trafficking in Persons' report in order to allegedly eliminate a barrier that would have kept Malaysia from being included in Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations. In addition to the United States, Malaysia is one of eleven other countries involved in the trade deal. 

As stated by The Intercept,

The trade promotion authority that Congress approved, which was signed into law by President Obama in June, came with a condition: No country on Tier 3 of the human trafficking report could get 'fast-track' status for trade agreements signed with the United States. In other words, trade deals with a Tier 3 country could not go to Congress for a guaranteed up-or-down vote without the possibility of filibuster or amendment. 

These tiers are organized based on a country's trafficking records, which Reuters lays out below. 

Tier 1 for nations that meet minimum U.S. standards; Tier 2 for those that make significant efforts to do so; Tier 2 "Watch List" for those that deserve special scrutiny; and Tier 3 for countries that fail to fully comply with the minimum U.S. standards and are not making significant efforts to do so. 

Reuters also shows that,

After a July 8 report on plans to upgrade Malaysia, 160 members of the U.S. House and 18 U.S. senators wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to keep Malaysia on Tier 3. They said there was no justification for an upgrade and questioned whether the plan was motivated by a desire to keep the country in the TPP.

In response to the decision, Human Rights Watch has said

"Malaysia’s record on stopping trafficking in persons is far from sufficient to justify this upgrade...This upgrade is more about the TPP and U.S. trade politics than anything Malaysia did to combat human trafficking."

In May, NBC reported 139 graves were found in several suspected human trafficking camps near Malaysia's northern border with Thailand. 

What do you think about this? Is the Obama administration putting politics ahead of facts to pass the TPP?

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.

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