On October 5, the United States and eleven other Asia-Pacific countries concluded negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman called the TPP an “an ambitious, high-standard comprehensive agreement” that “helps define the rules of the road for the Asia Pacific region.” In addition to the United States, the participating countries areAustralia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam – a group that is responsible for nearly 40 percent of the world’s economy. For the deal to be implemented, it will have to be approved by the legislatures of all 12 countries.
According to the summary statement by the participants, the TPP, among its key features, eliminates or reduces tariff and non-tariff barriers across substantially all trade in goods and services; it facilitates the development of production and supply chains; it promotes innovation, productivity, and competitiveness by addressing new issues, including the development of the digital economy; it includes new elements that seek to ensure that economies at all levels of development, and businesses of all sizes, can benefit from trade; and it is intended as a platform for regional economic integration and designed to include additional economies across the Asia-Pacific region.
President Barack Obama, who has long supported such an agreement, said in a statement that the TPP “reflects American values” and “levels the playing field” for American workers and businesses. It includes, he noted, “the strongest commitments on labor and the environment of any trade agreement in history, and those commitments are enforceable…It promotes a free and open Internet. It strengthens our strategic relationships with our partners and allies in a region that will be vital to the 21st century.”
In a statement, Secretary of State John Kerry called the TPP “historic,” also praising its “high standards on labor, the environment, intellectual property and a free and open Internet…The TPP,” said Secretary Kerry, “will provide a near-term boost to the U.S. economy, and it will shape our economic and strategic relationships in the ASIA-Pacific region long into the future.”