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Trans-Pacific Partnership Talk Gains Momentum

By Ideas Lab Staff May 3, 2013

The potential benefits and concerns of a trans-pacific deal found encouragement on the Hill last week.

Now with Japan’s entry into the agreement, the stakes have risen even more for U.S. interests in the success of the TPP talks, as Washington recently discussed key issues for both proponents and opponents of any deal.

Last week the Senate Finance Committee heard from key business leaders as well as politicians about U.S. prospects in the event of a deal, and both sides of the aisle were generally positive in their remarks.

Max Baucus, Democratic chairman of the committee, applauded Japan’s entry into the negotiations, but said there was still much that needed to be addressed. “We will need to address unscientific agricultural barriers,” he said. “And we will need to ensure U.S. innovators have robust intellectual property protection and enforcement.”

His counterpart, Republican Orrin Hatch, concurred on most points but pushed for some U.S. patent protection.

From the business community Karan Bhatia, a former deputy U.S. trade representative and current vice president and senior counsel for GE, testified that a TPP deal would “support broader and more inclusive economic growth and technological progress … where economies are healthier, more transparent and freer.” He added that the percentage of GE revenues derived from U.S. Free Trade Agreement partner countries is “more than twice their share of global GDP.”

In a recent post for Ideas Lab, New Zealand’s trade ambassador to the U.S. Mike Moore wrote that one of the major opportunities the TPP would bring “relates to its modernizing effect on supply chains and trade facilitation.”

“We see TPP as a 21st Century trade agreement targeted at deepening production and supply chain linkages throughout the region, enhancing regulatory coherence to make it easier to do business across borders, and promoting the participation of small and medium enterprises in global trade,” Moore wrote. “We see it as a very real opportunity.”

In his recent post for Ideas Lab, Ed Gerwin of Third Way, said the addition of Canada and Mexico to the TPP negotiating table will only boost U.S. success in international markets.

The talks include 12 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

President Obama is reported to want the TPP deal to conclude by year end 2013, and come into effect in 2015.

The Peterson Institute projects that U.S. income gains under the TPP would reach $59 billion per year by 2020 and grow to $75 billion by 2025.