UCF Global Perspectives


U.S. Reaches Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal

Rima Suleiman, Chastang Fellow, Global Economy

October 16, 2015

The U.S., Japan and 10 other countries around the Pacific reached a historic accord on October 6 to lower trade barriers on goods and services and to set commercial rules (The Wall Street Journal). The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) covers 40 per cent of the global economy and will create a Pacific economic bloc (Reuters). From reduced trade barriers to the flow of everything from beef and dairy products to textiles and data; with added unilateral standards on workplace conditions and rules for investment, the environment and labor (Inquisitr). The deal symbolizes the economic support of the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia, which is designed to counter the rise of China in the Pacific and beyond (Financial Times).

Among its most contentious elements is an Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism that will allow investors to bring TPP governments to arbitration. Critics fear that this will allow multinational corporations to undermine governments’ ability to regulate the deal (Financial Times). The TPP also includes stepped-up powers for the U.S. to put pressure on developing nations to improve labor practices, such as requiring Vietnam to allow independent trade unions and Malaysia to cut down on human trafficking (The Wall Street Journal). It includes similar provisions on the environment in regards to countries not doing enough to combat trafficking in endangered animals who may face trade penalties (Financial Times).







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