Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) has been passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President, setting the stage for the final negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). So what is the TPP? Which countries are involved? How will the partnership benefit American businesses? What concerns do critics have regarding the progressive agreement? Below we provide a breakdown of the ambitious new free trade agreement, which stands to be the largest enacted since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
On November 12, 2011, the leaders of 12 countries - Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States - announced the achievement of broad outlines to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. The combined countries represent almost a third of all word trade. The new free trade agreement will nurture relationships with one of the world's fastest growing regions, the Asia-Pacific.
The TPP has been negotiated to support Made-in-America exports, enforce fundamental labor rights, promote strong environmental protection and help small American businesses benefit from international trade.
The free trade agreement will also eliminate over 11,000 tariffs as well as other barriers to goods and services trade and investment, allowing complete market access to foreign markets and consumers. Additionally, the TPP is set to tackle new trade challenges in respect to the digital economy and green technologies.
Furthermore, the agreement will outline legal conditions regarding the below issues:
- Cooperation and Capacity Building
- Cross-Border Services
- Financial Services
- Government Procurement
- Intellectual Property
- Market Access for Goods
- Rules of Origin
- Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards
- Technical Barriers to Trade
- Temporary Entry
- Textiles and Apparel
- Trade Remedies
As a group, the TPP countries are the largest goods and services export market of the United States. U.S. goods exports to TPP countries totaled $698 billion in 2013, representing 44 percent of the total volume of U.S. goods exports that year. U.S. exports of agriculture products to TPP countries totaled $58.8 billion in 2013, 85 percent of total U.S. agricultural exports. America's small- and medium-sized enterprises alone exported $247 billion to the Asia-Pacific in 2011 (latest data available).
Critics of the progressive free trade agreement warn that jobs could be shifted offshore, pharmaceutical costs could rise, the environment could be harmed, consumers could be exposed to unsafe food and products, Wall Street reforms could be rolled back and 'Buy American' policies could be banned.
The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill, which was introduced on April 16, allows the President and Congress to work together on trade agreements. The TPA, or "fast track" authority enables the President to negotiate agreements based on terms set by Congress. Additionally, the TPA gives the President the power to send signed trade pacts to Congress for straight up-or-down votes, without room for amendments and limited floor debate.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations have been conducted in privately held meetings with little information released to the public. Most of the available information has been provided by the Office of the United States Trade Representative. For more information on the TPP, visit https://ustr.gov/tpp.
Contact Marisol International today for additional information regarding the benefits of free trade agreements for international shippers. Marisol specializes in global transportation and logistics services as well as customs and compliance advice. Subscribe to our weekly industry newsletter to stay informed on the development of the TPP.