TPP and Trans-Pacific Perplexities
54 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2014 Last revised: 28 Jun 2014
Date Written: February 19, 2014
In the past few years, the United States has been busy negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement with countries in the Asia-Pacific region. These countries include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Although it remains unclear which chapters or provisions will be included in the final text of the TPP Agreement, the negotiations have been quite controversial. In addition to the usual concerns about having high standards that are heavily lobbied by industries and arguably inappropriate for many participating countries, the TPP negotiations have been heavily criticized for their secrecy and lack of transparency, accountability and democratic participation.
Written for the inaugural annual Asia-Pacific issue of the Fordham International Law Journal, this article does not seek to continue this line of criticism, although transparency, accountability and democratic participation remain highly important. Nor does the article aim to explore the agreement's implications for each specific trade sector. Instead, this Article focuses on the ramifications of the exclusion of four different parties or groups of parties from the TPP negotiations: (1) China; (2) BRICS and other emerging economies; (3) Europe; and (4) civil society organizations. Targeting these "TPP outsiders" and using illustrations from the intellectual property sector and the larger trade context, this article seeks to highlight the perplexities created by the TPP negotiations. It cautions policymakers, commentators and the public at large against the negotiations' considerable and largely overlooked costs.
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