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You Down With TPP
A Dozen Pacific Countries Agree to Free Trade Deal

This is big: A consortium of negotiators from a dozen Pacific countries agreed to the terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) in Atlanta this morning. Bloomberg has the details:

The agreement will provide duty-free trade on most goods, and reduced tariffs on others. It will also provide mutual recognition of many regulations, including an exclusivity period for biologic drugs, which are derived from living organisms, and patent protection for pharmaceuticals. That was one of the final topics that was settled in marathon talks, as developing nations sought to have quicker access to generic medications […]

China was left out of the agreement, which supporters promoted as a counterweight to its growing influence […]

If implemented, it would be the largest trade deal the U.S. has negotiated since the North American Free Trade Agreement took effect in 1994. The three signatories to that agreement, the U.S., Canada and Mexico, are included in this one, as is Japan.

President Obama is expected to have an easy time getting the deal through Congress after a bipartisan bill to fast-track TTP was passed in June. The trade agreement is a big loss for unions, which fought it tooth and nail, and it will continue to create headaches for Hillary Clinton, whose advisors have reportedly told donors they wish the deal would “go away.” Senator Bernie Sanders strongly opposes the deal, and has been pressing Clinton to take a position on it.

But domestic politics aside, the TTP is a major victory for the Obama Administration and should prove to be a win for the U.S. in the medium to long term. Although the deal is surely imperfect, more and freer trade is in general a good thing. And if it also frustrates Beijing’s efforts to increase its power in the region—well, that’s just icing on the cake.

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  • Kevin

    Maybe. I’d like to see what was given away to special interests behind closed doors. I fear it includes numerous IP related changes which will enrich incumbents but create a sclerotic regulatory framework that will slow the pace of technological innovation and raise consumer prices.

    • Fat_Man

      Bingo. The devil is hiding amid the details.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    I’m afraid Obama’s negotiating prowess has proven to be abysmal. Once we look at this trade deal, we will see that America got shafted. And while I agree that free trade is a benefit to all those included, it seems likely that increasing American exports more than imports is unlikely to have been written into this agreement.

  • Nevis07

    The problem with these free trade deals is you have to implement them to know if it’s actually going to benefit the country. We as a country put so much stock in in promoting free trade, globalization, etc. because we like to think of ourselves as the torch bearer of capitalism in the world. But every month we have a trade deficit is a month that takes away potential economic growth from the US economy. This begs the question, are we simply trading away domestic market share so that huge corporations can open new markets as they’ve already won the domestic market and is it really worth it in the long run? And are we simply giving away economic growth and market access to trading partners so that they stay within Washington Consensus system?

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    • Tom

      That depends on whether the trade deficit is being used to buy stuff cheaper than it can be bought here so the savings can be put into things that can’t be bought elsewhere.

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