Guest Contributor William Krist: Negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

The only major current trade negotiation that the U.S. is engaged in at this time is the negotiation for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement with eight other nations in Asia and the Americas.  And Canada and Mexico are expected to join the negotiations in December.  If successful, the resulting free trade area would include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam, as well as the U.S.  With multilateral negotiations in the WTO now stalled, the TPP offers the best opportunity for additional trade liberalization.  More importantly, if done right, this agreement could provide a template for future WTO negotiations and for a broad agreement with the 21 member nations in Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, a group of 21 Pacific Rim countries that includes China, Indonesia and Russia.

Negotiators made progress in the most recent round of negotiations held in San Diego from July 2 to 10, although there are a number of controversial issues that remain.  The next negotiating round is scheduled for September 6 to 15 in Leesburg, Virginia, although it is unlikely that negotiators will resolve the critical issues until after the U.S. presidential election.

Click here to view a background paper on the TPP and key issues.



William K. Krist is a Senior Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center.  He is a former Senior Vice President of the American Electronics Association.  He has written extensively on trade, development, and the environment.  Anthony Gausepohl is his Research Assistant at the Woodrow Wilson Center.


One Response to Guest Contributor William Krist: Negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

  1. Charles Blum says:

    Bill Krist makes many excellent points. My quarrel is with the convention wisdom that refers to agreements such as the proposed TPP as “free trade.” They do remove tariff and some non-tariff barriers, and thus could honestly be called :freer trade” pacts. But they do not level the playing field. Instead, they leave untouched barriers such as currency manipulation and competitive border tax adjustments that can substitute for the barriers that have been bargained away. Add in the essentially undisciplined role of state-owned and effectively state-controlled enterprises and weak rules on subsidies and product standards, and it becomes easy to understand why some of us fear that the TPP will become the template for so-called 21st Century trade agreements.

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