TOKYO, Japan – The text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was released Thursday, November 5, offering the first detailed look at the contents of the world’s largest free trade area.
The accord must be signed and ratified by the respective countries and many may face uphill battles, not least in the United States as it tries to convince a skeptical Congress.
Delegates from 12 Pacific Rim nations finally managed to hammer out an agreement in the United States last month – 5 years after the Washington-led talks first began.
Spanning about 2/5 of the global economy, the hard-won deal aims to set the rules for 21st century trade and investment and press non-member China to shape its behavior in commerce, investment and business regulation to TPP standards.
Under the deal most tariffs were to be eliminated or slashed on everything from beef, dairy products, wine, sugar, rice, horticulture and seafood through to manufactured products, resources and energy.
Those involved are the US, Japan, Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
Following the October announcement, Asian members were quick to follow US President Barack Obama in declaring the agreement a win, even if most nations were forced to compromise on key issues.
“It’s the opening of a new century for the Asia-Pacific region,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at the time, hailing the emergence of a “huge economic zone”.
The US and Japan were the two biggest economies involved in the deal but the two sides long appeared unable to find common ground on key issues, including auto sector access and Japan’s huge agricultural tariffs. – Rappler.com