The Implications of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for SMEs: Opportunities and Challenges
KLRI Journal of Law and Legislation, Volume 6, Number 1, pp. 45-82, 2016
38 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2016 Last revised: 9 Mar 2017
Date Written: July 9, 2016
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will have profound implications for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within and beyond the free trade area. SME issues get more attention in the TPP than previous FTAs. Since there is limited research on the impact of the FTAs on SMEs, it is of great significance to probe into the practical implications of the TPP for SMEs. The key question will be analyzed: what are the challenges and opportunities that the TPP hold for SMEs? It is argued that, first, the support to SMEs, tariff elimination or reduction, and the reduction of non-tariff barriers are major opportunities presented by the TPP. The key benefits to SMEs are enhanced market opening and increased predictability. However, such opportunities may have limited effects in improving market position for certain SMEs. Second, the TPP will pose major challenges such as insufficiency of the opportunities to SMEs, the complexity of rules, difficulties in rule interpretation and implementation, remained regulatory differences, disadvantaged positions of SMEs from developing TPP countries, and the impact on SMEs negatively affected by trade liberalization. There will be more challenges for SMEs from non-TPP parties. Third, if the TPP is properly managed, it should bring more opportunities than challenges to SMEs. The opportunities and challenges deriving from the TPP are intimately connected.
Keywords: TPP, SMEs, opportunities, challenges, mega FTAs, regulatory convergence, non-tariff barriers
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