Pacific Rim Partners Agree on Outlines of a U.S.-Free TPP
November 22, 2017
On November 11, 2017, ministers from TPP countries announced that they had agreed upon the outlines of their Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for TPP (CPTPP). Meetings took place during the APEC Summit and, although trade ministers admit that much more remains to be resolved, a joint statement was optimistic that the current agreement "maintains the high standards, overall balance and integrity of the TPP." Japanese Economy Minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, expressed hopes that the negotiations for the new agreement might conclude before "key countries", such as Mexico and Malysia, hold their presidential elections.
The announcement caused concern among U.S. business leaders and lawmakers. Sarah Thorn, senior director of government relations for Wal-Mart, criticized the Trump administration for its withdrawal from the multilateral agreement, contending that while a CPTPP would benefit a multinational, its exclusion of the U.S. would prove detrimental to agricultural and manufacturing interests. Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden 9D-OR) decried a "dithering" trade policy and speculated that dely and uncertainty would only enable other countries to take advantage of burgeoning Asian export markets: "Because of his [President Trump] failure to effectively engage, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and service providers will lose business in the Asia-Pacific markets compared to their competitors in countries like Canada and Mexico.
According to trade experts, these negotiations could also adversely affect the ongoing NAFTA renegotiation. Canadian and Mexican involvement in CPTPP substantiates any speculations that they plan to open alternative export markets in Asia, should NAFTA talks fail. Furthermore, their agreement to strike intellectual property provisions in the CPTPP may indicate their future response to similar proposals that the U.S. might make during NAFTA negotiations.
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