Trans-Pacific Partnership | Wilson Center

Trans-Pacific Partnership

Wilson Perspectives: The Trans-Pacific Partnership


by Jane Harman

By any measure, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the 21st century’s most significant trade agreement. In 30 chapters and more than 5,000 pages, it lays down new rules of the road for 12 countries, 40 percent of the world economy, and 26 percent of world trade. From Latin America to the Asia-Pacific, on issues from workers’ rights to digital commerce, this deal will have an impact. It takes a wide-angle, multidisciplinary lens to study all of its aspects.

Challenges and Opportunities for TPP Countries

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The Impact of TPP on Latin America and U.S. Relations with the Region

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) includes five Western Hemisphere countries, of which three (Chile, Mexico, and Peru) are in Latin America. Through the TPP, the United States would deepen its economic and strategic partnership with each. The agreement would update and enhance existing free trade agreements between the United States and these nations, a development that is especially important for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was negotiated more than two decades ago.

The TPP Remains Key to U.S. Engagement in the Asia-Pacific Region

For U.S. companies that are already heavily engaged in Asia, the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are, obviously, lower tariffs, higher standards of protection of critical interests (including intellectual property rights), and easier customs processing. What is more, U.S. companies that are the most successful in the Asia-Pacific region are those that are already competitive and are the driving force for future growth, from major manufacturers to service providers.

TPP Countries Will Scrutinize Partners’ Exchange Rate Policies

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) does not include binding disciplines against unfair currency practices. Other countries would not sign on to an agreement that includes sanctions against such practices.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: What’s New, What’s Not, What’s Next



Could the TPP Actually Divide Asia?

Trade deals always produce losers as well as winners, so it is no surprise that there is growing concern that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement will not be ratified by all 12 member countries. But if it does come into force, the seemingly unshakeable assumption is that the TPP will be the foundation for continued U.S. engagement in Asia, and that it will ensure stability in a region increasingly riven by nationalism, territorial disputes, and militarism.

TPP & the Future of NAFTA


Conclusion of TPP Negotiations

Now that TPP negotiations have reached a conclusion, we asked Asia expert Shihoko Goto to provide an overview of what was achieved.

What does agreement on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) mean?

On October 4, the 12 trading partners in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) reached agreement after tough negotiations lasting 7 years. [1] The final hurdles on intellectual property protection for pharmaceuticals, market access for dairy products and rules of origin for automobiles were resolved at the recent meeting in Atlanta.  (In 2008, President Bush joined the trade negotiations which had started with 3 nations in 2002). The sense of relief is notable, but TTP must still be approved by the U.S. Congress.