A Done Deal? Trans-Pacific Partnership is Inked

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 10/05/2015 05:09:00 PM
The international trade deal is signed; individual nations ratifying it remains.
This comes as a bit of a surprise to me: the Trans-Pacific Partnership has, at long last, been completed. I had expected divisive issues to hold it up--agriculture and automobiles especially--but it seems I was mistaken. There are APEC economies starved for further trade deals including, much to my surprise, Japan, which I had expected to complicate matters over its closed markets for the aforementioned goods. While the full text of TPP is yet to be released, here is the summary from the USTR:
On October 4, 2015, Ministers of the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam – announced conclusion of their negotiations.  The result is a high-standard, ambitious, comprehensive, and balanced agreement that will 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.  We envision conclusion of this agreement, with its new and high standards for trade and investment in the Asia Pacific, as an important step toward our ultimate goal of open trade and regional integration across the region.
The USTR also touts five key features, although these talking points should be familiar by now:

Five defining features make the Trans-Pacific Partnership a landmark 21st-century agreement, setting a new standard for global trade while taking up next-generation issues.  These features include:
  • Comprehensive market access.  The TPP eliminates or reduces tariff and non-tariff barriers across substantially all trade in goods and services and covers the full spectrum of trade, including goods and services trade and investment, so as to create new opportunities and benefits for our businesses, workers, and consumers.
  • Regional approach to commitments.   The TPP facilitates the development of production and supply chains, and seamless trade, enhancing efficiency and supporting our goal of creating and supporting jobs, raising living standards, enhancing conservation efforts, and facilitating cross-border integration, as well as opening domestic markets.
  • Addressing new trade challenges.  The TPP promotes innovation, productivity, and competitiveness by addressing new issues, including the development of the digital economy, and the role of state-owned enterprises in the global economy.
  • Inclusive trade.  The TPP includes new elements that seek to ensure that economies at all levels of development and businesses of all sizes can benefit from trade.  It includes commitments to help small- and medium-sized businesses understand the Agreement, take advantage of its opportunities, and bring their unique challenges to the attention of the TPP governments.  It also includes specific commitments on development and trade capacity building, to ensure that all Parties are able to meet the commitments in the Agreement and take full advantage of its benefits.
  • Platform for regional integration.  The TPP is intended as a platform for regional economic integration and designed to include additional economies across the Asia-Pacific region.
Attention now turns to the specifics: what sorts of concessions were offered to the likes of Japan...or even Canada? Beyond that, this international agreement needs to be ratified by all of the 12 participants in the negotiations. So there is still quite some ways to go.