ASU professor says TPP would have been a check on China's rise

January 24, 2017

In one of his first major acts, President Donald Trump formally withdrew the U.S. from a trade deal that became a flashpoint during the election.

Trump has said the Trans-Pacific Partnership was bad for American workers and that pulling out would save jobs. Download Full Image

The TPP trade deal would have created a Pacific trade zone not unlike the zone that NAFTA created in North America, but among a dozen countries bordering the Pacific — Japan, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Peru and Chile. By 2030, those countries would have been able to access one another’s ports with next to no tariffs or other restrictions.

Michael Bennett, an associate research professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University, commented on what the move may mean in future.

Bennett’s research concerns intellectual property law regimes, science and technology policy, and the societal implications of emerging technologies.

QUESTION: The Trans-Pacific Partnership, as I understand it, was meant to be NAFTA, but for the Pacific Rim.

ANSWER: In a sense it’s similar to NAFTA in that it sought to effectively bring together a collection of nations under the guise of lowered tariffs – ‘a free-trade zone across the Americas’ — effectively was the punchline there. But TPP was more ambitious in that it sought a geopolitical collaboration, in addition to effectively creating a free-trade zone. In this regard TPP — it seems to most observers, including myself — was about checking the ascendancy of China’s power.

Q: China was the one PacRim nation that wasn’t a signatory.

A: China was excluded. It was not one of the 12 countries that negotiated the TPP pact.

Q: Now that it’s gone, what do you anticipate will be the fallout?

A: We actually started seeing in TPP negotiations, even though technically it has space in it for other countries, a space big enough for China even, ultimately it was designed as a check on China.

One of the biggest responses — and this is months old — is that China started negotiating with some of its Asia-Pacific neighbors on an alternative, a parallel pact called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Another fallout is that Japanese Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe burned through a lot of political capital to get the TPP ratified there. Now he’s left hanging in a sense.

Japan is as least as complicated as the U.S. when it comes to domestic politics, so it’s unclear what that could mean both to internal Japanese politics and relationships between our two countries.

Q: What will this mean for American trade, now that it’s gone?

A: I should qualify this response by paraphrasing George Eliot and say ‘Among all forms of mistake, prophecy is the most gratuitous.’ It’s hard to say, especially in these opening moments of a new administration that seems focused on strategically deploying uncertainty around the world.

But, with that qualification, it seems the economists who have been bold enough to speak out on projections for TPP had it been ratified, predicted a significant opportunity loss in terms of revenues and gross domestic product and so forth, perhaps on the order of tens of billions of dollars, perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars.

Critics of the TPP will say those economists are politically biased, but those are the numbers we had access to.

Scott Seckel

Reporter, ASU News

ASU Cronkite School launches new Spanish-language journalism platform

January 25, 2017

Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has launched Cronkite Noticias/Mixed Voces, a new digital Spanish-language platform for reporting on issues critical to Arizonans.

The new multiplatform website — — focuses on the economy, education, sustainability, immigration and other issues important to the region’s Latino communities. It is made possible by the Raza Development Fund, the largest Latino community development financial institution dedicated to generating economic growth and opportunities for Latino families across the country. Cronkite News border reporting Bilingual Cronkite students are reporting in Spanish for Cronkite Noticias/Mixed Voces, a new digital Spanish-language journalism platform for issues critical to Arizonans. Download Full Image

Cronkite Noticias/Mixed Voces is the successor of Mixed Voces, a pilot project established by RDF in 2014 to provide news and information to Arizona’s Spanish-speaking community. The project succeeded in bringing 35,000 monthly visitors to RDF then gifted the Mixed Voces website and seed money to the Cronkite School to hire a professional editor to support the website and mentor students.

“Cronkite Noticias/Mixed Voces will provide a very important service to Spanish-speaking Arizonans as well as our bilingual journalism students,” said Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School. “We greatly appreciate the support of the Raza Development Fund in helping us make this initiative a reality.”

Cronkite Noticias is the latest addition to Cronkite News, the news division of Arizona PBS where students get real-world journalism experience working under the guidance of Cronkite School faculty members with extensive professional experience.

Veteran bilingual multimedia journalist Valeria Fernández took over leadership of Cronkite Noticias earlier this month on an interim basis. She is working with a team of six bilingual Cronkite students to produce a variety of in-depth, Spanish-language news content for the website.

Fernández also works as a freelance journalist, having reported for CNN Español, CNN International, Radio Bilingue, PRI's The World, Al Jazeera English, New America Media and The Associated Press. She was named Latina Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Hispanic Publications in 2004.

“I'm honored to be part of a pioneering team of brave ‘reporteros’ who are undertaking the challenge of not only producing news in Spanish, but creating bilingual and multimedia enterprise reports that will serve our community,” Fernández said. “Cronkite Noticias will follow a tradition of community journalism that comes from our predecessor Mixed Voces. Both our website and our Spanish newscast will go beyond the breaking news to deliver shoe leather, in-depth journalism to Latino and Spanish-speaking audiences.”

The Cronkite Noticias team also will collaborate with Cronkite News – Borderlands, in which students cover immigration and border issues under the direction of veteran journalists Angela Kocherga and Alfredo Corchado, both Southwest Borderlands Initiative professors at the Cronkite School.

Cronkite senior Johana Restrepo, who was born in Colombia, South America, and moved to the U.S. at the age of 9, said she grew up with Spanish-language media. “I grew up watching Telemundo and Univision, and I always looked up to those reporters,” Restrepo said. “I wanted to be like them when I was a little girl.”

Now, as a member of the inaugural Cronkite Noticias team, she is reporting stories such as one on the city of Phoenix’s move to issue ID cards to undocumented immigrants.

“The Spanish-speaking community is very big, and it’s an honor to be a part of this,” she said.

Cronkite Noticias/Mixed Voces is one of 13 professional immersion programs at the Cronkite School. The others are a nightly television news broadcast that airs on Arizona PBS, digital news bureaus in Washington and Phoenix, sports bureaus in Los Angeles and Phoenix, a strategic public relations agency, an entrepreneurial digital innovation lab, a business reporting bureau, a borderlands bureau, a digital production bureau, an audience engagement and civic journalism bureau and a national investigative reporting program.

Established in 1999, the Raza Development Fund is a nonprofit corporation and a registered community development financial institution under the U.S. Department of the Treasury. It provides National Council of La Raza affiliates and other Latino-serving organizations access to capital.

With more than $250 million in total assets under management, RDF is the largest Latino community development financial institution in the country. Since its inception, it has provided capital to Latino- serving organizations nationwide. These organizations have received technical assistance and loans that have helped leverage nearly $2.5 billion in private capital for education, childcare, affordable housing and health care projects serving low-income families and individuals.