As the United States moves toward the final negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with 11 other Pacific Rim countries, some in Congress are seeking greater input into the planned trade deal. If successfully concluded, the TPP would reduce trade barriers and harmonize regulations among partner nations, and would be the Obama administration’s biggest step yet in the direction of trade liberalization.
Secretary of State John Kerry has been actively promoting the TPP, which is not yet finalized, in recent public statements. “We still need to unlock the full potential for growth in the Asia Pacific,” he said last month, and the TPP is “the great catalyst for this effort.” The Obama administration is “absolutely convinced that the multilateral free trade agreement under negotiation with some of the world’s most vibrant economies represents something good for everybody in the world.” He added that the TPP “will make a difference by raising standards, opening up markets and creating, literally, millions of more jobs” in the United States and elsewhere.
In addition to the economic benefits the administration expects from the agreement, the TPP would also advance United States’ broader goal of setting global standards for trade agreements. The United States wants to “set standards that China would eventually adopt,” according to Edward Alden, a trade policy expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. At the same time, if passed, the TPP would hopefully convince developing countries that want to do business with the United States “to do so according to the standard set by these agreements,” Alden said.