That minor detail was missing from Wonkblog's discussion of the proposed E.U.-U.S. trade agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The piece begins by telling readers in the first sentence:
"Nailing down complicated international trade agreements, with a zillion different interests and moving parts, is no easy feat."
It then adds that the Obama administration will be trying to do two deals at once and that it will have to contend with opposition in Congress.
Of course there is no reason the deals have to be complicated. If the trade deals focused on removing traditional trade barriers such as tariffs and quotas, there would not be "a zillion different interests and moving parts." There would be some formulaic wording written into the agreement that specified the rate at which these restrictions would be pared back.
The reason there are a zillion moving parts is because the Obama administration went to the oil and gas industries to ask how they can use the trade agreement to get around environmental restrictions on drilling. It went to the food and agricultural industries to ask how they could get around food safety rules. It went to the pharmaceutical industry to ask it how it can use these deals to increase patent protections and jack up drug prices. It went to the entertainment industry and asked how it can use these deals to strengthen copyright enforcement and require Internet intermediaries to take responsibility (and incur expenses) to help enforce copyrights.
That is why these deals have a zillion moving parts instead of being simple agreements focused on reducing barriers to trade. It would have been helpful if Wonkblog had explained this fact to readers.