The United Stated and 11 Pacific Rim countries have signed on Monday the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that will cut and reduce trade barriers and relief the commerce of 40% of the world’s economy.
The agreement was signed in Atlanta after talks of reaching common standards of trade from Vietnam to Canada. The countries participating in the trade partnership include the United States, Canada, Chile, Peru, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Brunei and Vietnam. Their aim is to counter the power of China, as well as the barriers on product prices in 18,000 categories ranging from cheese to cancer treatment. The TPP also sets minimum standards on worker’s rights and environmental protection.
According to Reuters, the U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said that this comprehensive and balanced agreement is aimed at raising the living standards and reducing poverty. He stated “We envision conclusion of this agreement, with its new and high standards for trade and investment in the Asia Pacific, as an important step toward our ultimate goal of open trade and regional integration across the region.” He also added that the deal would eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers and work for the developing of the digital economy and the state-owned enterprises in the global economy.
However, the deal has come under some opposition in Congress, which signals that there would be a long battle as Congress takes it for approval. It is expected that the Congress will take the deal into consideration well into the Presidential primaries, which means that it will be scrutinized by Presidential candidates.
According to Reuters, Democrat Bernie Sanders who is opposing the trade deal and who says that it will cost American jobs has stated “Wall Street and other big corporations have won again.” He also tweeter “In the Senate, I will do all that I can to defeat the TPP agreement.”
The 90 day review period will give Congress its fast track authority of an up-or-down vote, meaning that it can only vote to approve or disapprove, but not amend it.
Barack Obama and his administration have already launched a campaign with U.S. officials convincing legislators over the next several months that the free trade deal will be greatly beneficial to the United States.
According to Reuters, White House spokesman Josh Earnest stated “Our goal here is going to be to talk about the benefits of the agreement and how an agreement like the one the President set out to achieve is one that expands access to overseas markets for products that are stamped Made in America.”
The signatories hope that other countries will join the agreement, including China. The White House says that now that the Pacific Rim agreement has been reached, there are talks of a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with European countries, but the negotiations are not at an advanced stage.