Apple supports Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal

Apple, Facebook, and other tech firms are pushing for the next U.S. president to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal and to make it easier to hire high-tech workers from abroad, according to a joint letter seen by Reuters.

The TPP is a massive, controversial, pro-corporate "free trade" agreement among the United States and 11 other countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. The 30 chapters of the TPP concern many matters of public policy and the following stated goals: to "promote economic growth; support the creation and retention of jobs; enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raise living standards; reduce poverty in our countries; and promote transparency, good governance, and enhanced labor and environmental protections." 

Among other things, the TPP contains measures to lower trade barriers, such as tariffs, and establish an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (but states can opt out from tobacco-related measures). The U.S. government considers the TPP a companion agreement to the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a broadly similar agreement between the U.S. and the European Union.

Although it is called a “trade” agreement, the TPP is not mainly about trade. Of TPP's 30 chapters, only six deal with traditional trade issues, according to the