The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations between the United States and 11 other countries recently concluded after 5 years. TPP grew out of a smaller agreement made between just 4 countries: New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, and Brunei. In the end, 12 diverse nations, all at various levels of economic development, came together seeking to lay out the rules of the road for international commerce and trade in the Asia-Pacific.
The Obama administration touts the agreement as a “21st century” trade agreement, with high standards for labor, the environment, and intellectual property rights, as well as explicit provisions for trade capacity building. In addition to the economic benefits, the Obama administration is hoping this agreement will help the United States engage more diplomatically with Pacific Rim countries. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has stated that “TPP has been a centerpiece of our rebalancing strategy towards Asia…and underscores that the U.S. is a Pacific power.”
The agreement is not without controversy, however. Leaked texts during the negotiations prompted labor, environment, and free speech groups to raise concerns, and even launch campaigns against the deal.
The finalized negotiated text was made public in early November 2015, so the World Trade Center Denver assembled some excellent minds to go over both the potential benefits as well as the controversial topics of this deal.
Doug Vilsack, Posner Center
Jesse Prentice-Dunn, Sierra Club
Sam Gilchrist, AFL-CIO
Tyler Rauert, Polaris Law Group