The United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries have agreed to an ambitious trade pact that cuts trade barriers, sets labor and environmental standards and protects multinational corporations’ intellectual property.
The agreement on the Trans Pacific Partnership was reached Monday after marathon negotiating sessions in Atlanta through the weekend.
“We think it helps define the rules of the road for the Asia-Pacific region,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.
The TPP is designed to encourage trade between the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed the basic agreement as “a farsighted policy for all participating countries that share the values and try to build a free and fair economic zone.”
The deal still has to be approved by the U.S. Congress, where opposition is widespread. President Obama has to wait 90 days after agreement before signing the pact, and only then will Congress begin to debate it.
As a result, a vote on the agreement likely will not happen until well into 2016. Given the political sensitivity of the deal, supporters of the agreement may push to hold the vote as far ahead of next year’s elections as possible. Congress can only give the deal an up-or-down vote; it can’t amend the agreement.
Many of the tariff reductions and other changes will be phased in over several years, so benefits to the U.S. economy could take time to materialize.
Peter Petri, a professor of international finance at Brandeis University, says he doesn’t expect the deal to lead to any U.S. job gains. But he forecasts it will boost U.S. incomes by $77 billion a year, or 0.4 percent, by 2025, mostly by creating export-oriented jobs that will pay more, even as other jobs are lost.
The Obama administration has also pursued the deal as part of a strategy to lift U.S. influence in fast-growing Asia and to counter China’s growing influence. China, the world’s second-largest economy, is not part of the agreement, but potentially could join later.
Story from The Associated Press.
Statements on TPP agreement:
Trans-Pacific Partnership Ministers’ Statement
We, the trade ministers of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam, are pleased to announce that we have successfully concluded the Trans-Pacific Partnership. After more than five years of intensive negotiations, we have come to an agreement that will support jobs, drive sustainable growth, foster inclusive development, and promote innovation across the Asia-Pacific region. Most importantly, the agreement achieves the goal we set forth of an ambitious, comprehensive, high standard and balanced agreement that will benefit our nation’s citizens.
TPP brings higher standards to nearly 40 percent of the global economy. In addition to liberalizing trade and investment between us, the agreement addresses the challenges our stakeholders face in the 21st century, while taking into account the diversity of our levels of development. We expect this historic agreement to promote economic growth, support higher-paying jobs; enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raise living standards; reduce poverty in our countries; and to promote transparency, good governance, and strong labor and environmental protections.
To formalize the outcomes of the agreement, negotiators will continue technical work to prepare a complete text for public release, including the legal review, translation, and drafting and verification of the text. We look forward to engaging with stakeholders on the specific features of this agreement and undergoing the domestic processes to put the agreement in place.
After negotiators reached a final deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made the following statement:
We are disappointed that our negotiators rushed to conclude the TPP in Atlanta, given all the concerns that have been raised by American stakeholders and members of Congress. The Administration had a hard time reaching this deal for good reasons: it appears that many problematic concessions were made in order to finalize the deal. We ask the Administration to release the text immediately, and urge legislators to exercise great caution in evaluating the TPP. As we’ve said, rushing through a bad deal will not bring economic stability to working families, nor will it bring confidence that our priorities count as much as those of global corporations. We will evaluate the details carefully and work to defeat this corporate trade deal if it does not measure up.
Pact would liberalize commerce in 40% of world’s economy
The Trans-Pacific Partnership creates the largest free-trade bloc in history. After five years of negotiations, the U.S., Japan and 10 other Pacific countries reached agreement on the TPP’s rules. Now all 12 partners need to sell it to their own lawmakers for final approval.
CCTV’s Jessica Stone joined the discussion.
Pact would liberalize commerce in 40% of world\'s economyThe Trans-Pacific Partnership creates the largest free-trade bloc in history. After five years of negotiations, the U.S., Japan and 10 other Pacific countries reached agreement on the TPP's rules. Now all 12 partners need to sell it to their own lawmakers for final approval. CCTV's Jessica Stone joined the discussion.
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