Wiki Trans-Pacific Partnership

The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP), also known as P4,[6] is a trade agreement between four Pacific Rim countries concerning a variety of matters of economic policy. The Wiki Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement was signed by Brunei, Chile, Singapore and New Zealand in 2005 and entered into force in 2006. It is a comprehensive trade agreement, affecting trade in goods, rules of origin, trade remedies, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, trade in services, intellectual property, government procurement and competition policy. Among other things, it called for a reduction by 90 percent of all tariffs between member countries by 1 January 2006, and reduction of all trade tariffs to zero by the year 2015.

The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement was the centerpiece of U.S. President Barack Obama’s strategic pivot to Asia. Before President Donald Trump withdrew the United States in 2017, the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement was set to become the world’s largest free trade deal, covering 40 percent of the global economy. For its supporters, such a deal would have expanded U.S. trade and investment abroad, spurred economic growth, lowered consumer prices, and created new jobs, while also advancing U.S. strategic interests in the Asia-Pacific region. But its detractors, including Trump, saw the deal as likely to accelerate U.S. decline in manufacturing, lower wages, and increase inequality.

With the United States on the sidelines, the remaining Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement countries have forged ahead with a new version of the pact, known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), keeping most of the original intact. In September 2021, China applied to join the pact, putting further pressure on the United States. U.S. President Joe Biden has said he does not support rejoining the TPP as it stands, but that he could try to renegotiate it to include stronger labor and environmental provisions.

Origins of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement

The impetus for what became the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement was a 2005 trade agreement between a small group of Pacific Rim countries. It comprises of Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore. In 2008, President George W. Bush announced that the United States would begin trade talks with this group, leading Australia, Vietnam, and Peru to join. As the talks proceeded, the group expanded to include Canada, Japan, Malaysia, and Mexico—twelve countries in all.

Upon taking office in 2009, Obama continued the talks. In 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton framed the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement as the centerpiece of the United States’ strategic pivot to the Asia-Pacific region. After nineteen official rounds of negotiations and many more separate meetings, the participating countries came to an agreement in October 2015 and signed the pact in early 2016.

These negotiations overcame significant political hurdles, with countries agreeing to difficult reforms of their economies. For instance, Japan’s powerful farming lobby resisted the reduction of tariffs on agricultural goods, while the country agreed to reduce barriers to its auto market. Canada agreed to allow more foreign access to its heavily protected dairy market, while Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam promised to reform their labor laws, and U.S. negotiators compromised on some of their demands for stricter patent protections for pharmaceuticals.

However, the deal was never ratified by the U.S. Congress, as it became a target of both Republican and Democratic candidates during the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump formally withdrew from the TPP on his first full day in office, in January 2017.

Initial agreements

By 2001, New Zealand and Singapore had concluded the Agreement between New Zealand and Singapore on a Closer Economic Partnership (NZSCEP). The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement built on the NZSCEP.


During the 2002 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico, prime ministers Helen Clark of New Zealand, Goh Chok Tong of Singapore and Chilean President Ricardo Lagos began negotiations on the Pacific Three Closer Economic Partnership (P3-CEP). According to the New Zealand Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade:

“The shared desire was to create a comprehensive, forward-looking trade agreement that set high-quality benchmarks on trade rules, and would help to promote trade liberalization and facilitate trade within the APEC region.”

Brunei first took part as a full negotiating party in April 2005 before the fifth, and final round of talks. Subsequently, the agreement was renamed to TPSEP (Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement or Pacific-4). Negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP or P4) were concluded by Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore on 3 June 2005,[1] and entered into force on 28 May 2006 for New Zealand and Singapore, 12 July 2006 for Brunei, and 8 November 2006 for Chile.

What did the parties to the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement agree to?

The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement text consisted of thirty chapters, covering tariffs on goods and services, intellectual property (IP) rights, e-commerce rules, labor and environmental standards, dispute resolution mechanisms, and many other aspects of global trade. The goal of this ambitious megaregional deal—one spanning several continents and covering some 40 percent of world trade—was to create a fully integrated economic area and establish consistent rules for global investment. For Obama, the pact was a means to ensure that “the United States—and not countries like China—is the one writing this century’s rules for the world’s economy.”


Some prominent provisions included:

  • Elimination or reduction of tariffs. The deal lowered tariffs and other trade barriers on a vast range of goods, including many automotive and other manufactured products, textiles and apparel, and agricultural commodities, such as meat, dairy, produce, and grains. Some estimates put the total tariff reduction among Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement members at 98 percent.
  • Liberalization of services trade. Restrictions on cross-border services were removed, and rules added to ensure that businesses offering services in areas including retail, communications, entertainment, and finance would be protected from discrimination.
  • Investment rules. Markets were opened to foreign investment among members, and rules added to protect investors from unfair treatment. The controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision, which allows investors to sue host governments using international arbitration panels, was included.
  • E-commerce guidelines. The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement was the first regional deal to include comprehensive rules on digital commerce, which would have ensured the free flow of information across borders, mandated consumer privacy protections, and banned policies that force investors to move their servers and other related facilities to the host country.
  • Intellectual property protections. The deal contained extensive provisions on IP, including patent enforcement, lengthened copyright terms, and protections for technology and trade secrets. This included controversial new protections for prescription drugs, including for a new class of medications known as biologics, pushed by the United States.
  • Labor and environmental standards. The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement went further than previous trade deals in committing members to allow workers to form unions, prohibit child and forced labor, improve workplace conditions, and strengthen environmental protections.
  • Other important provisions included rules on transparency, restrictions on monopolies and state-owned enterprises, and streamlined regulations meant to make it easier for smaller businesses to trade across borders.

How the deal benefited America

For the American architects of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, the pact was to be the center of an Asia-focused strategy to pursue both economic and geopolitical interests. On the economic side of the equation, the Obama administration and many trade economists argued that the deal’s lower tariffs and increased market access would have reduced prices for consumers, spurred cross-border investment, and boosted U.S. exports. More consistent rules and market-oriented reforms in developing countries such as Vietnam and Malaysia, they said, would make all the economies involved more efficient, increasing productivity and growth.

The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement economies made up some 40 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), and the agreement would have been the largest ever completed by the United States, both in terms of the number of countries and total trade flows. U.S. International Trade Commission data [PDF] shows that U.S. trade with TPP countries amounted to more than $1.5 trillion, or about 40 percent of all U.S. trade, in 2015. The United States has existing free trade deals with many TPP countries, including Australia, Canada, and Mexico, but at the time the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement was signed, lacked one with Japan, the world’s third-largest economy. In 2019, the Trump administration negotiated a limited bilateral trade deal with Tokyo that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has argued captures the bulk of the TPP’s economic benefits to the United States.

Many economic studies, including those by U.S. government agencies and think tanks, have projected that the TPP would boost the U.S. economy, with one predicting an added $130 billion to U.S. GDP by 2030, or an increase of about 0.5 percent. However, some models showed a mixed impact on employment, with job losses in manufacturing offset by growth in the agriculture and service sectors.

As for the TPP’s geostrategic value, the Obama administration argued that it would bolster U.S. leadership in Asia and strengthen its alliances in the region. In 2011, Secretary Clinton said the TPP would advance broader Asian integration efforts, supporting regional institutions, such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement would also have ensured that the United States led the way on global trade rules. Analysts say that U.S.-led deals generally provide for deeper economic reforms and higher labor, environmental, and health standards, which participant countries are incentivized to adopt in order to gain access to new markets, than China-led ones. While Trump has made confronting China’s trade-distorting policies a centerpiece of his agenda, experts including CFR’s Edward Alden say that withdrawing from the TPP reduced Washington’s leverage and made it harder to deal with Beijing’s abuses.

What drove opposition to the TPP?

The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement was the target of attacks from across the U.S. political spectrum, especially during the 2016 presidential campaign, as well as from some groups in other participating countries. Trump long criticized the deal, claiming that it would push more manufacturing jobs overseas, increase the U.S. trade deficit, and fail to address currency manipulation by U.S. trade partners.

Some Democrats agreed at least partially with this prognosis, including presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, although Clinton had championed the TPP as a vital component of Obama’s pivot to Asia during her tenure as secretary of state. Many in the U.S. labor movement also fought it, arguing that trade deals such as the TPP erode wages and lower environmental and labor standards. They say such a deal could repeat the experience of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, Mexico, and the United States, which they blame for job losses in manufacturing.

Trump long criticized the deal, claiming that it would push more manufacturing jobs overseas.

Trade unions in Australia, Canada, and elsewhere opposed the deal on the grounds that it gives global corporations too much power over domestic policymaking, undercuts wages, and increases the incentives to move manufacturing production to lower-cost countries. Critics also maintained that provisions on labor and environmental standards were vague and unlikely to be consistently enforced.

Objectives of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement

The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement establishes a Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership among the Parties, based on common interest and on the deepening of the relationship in all areas of application. The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement also covers in particular the commercial, economic, financial, scientific, technological and cooperation fields. It may be extended to other areas to be agreed upon by the parties in order to expand and enhance the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement.

The Parties of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement also seek to support the wider liberalization process in APEC consistent with its goals of free and open trade and investment. The trade objectives of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, as elaborated more specifically through its principles and rules, including national treatment, most-favored-nation treatment, and transparency, are to:

  • encourage expansion and diversification of trade among each Party’s territory;
  • eliminate barriers to trade in, and facilitate the cross-border movement of, goods and services among the territories of the parties;
  • promote conditions of fair competition in the free trade area;
  • substantially increase investment opportunities among each Party’s territory;
  • provide adequate and effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in each party’s territory; and
  • create an effective mechanism to prevent and resolve trade disputes.



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