October 05, 2015

CNAS Press Note: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

By Harry Krejsa, and Dr. Patrick M. Cronin

Washington, October 5 – On news that the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations had reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Asia-Pacific Security Program Director Patrick Cronin and Asia Pacific Security Program Research Associate Harry Krejsa have written a new press note, “The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.”

The full press note is below:

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement reached in Atlanta today represents a historic undertaking on the part of the 12 nations party to the deal. The Pacific Rim nations, including the United States, Japan, Canada, Singapore, Australia, and others, together represent 40 percent of the world economy. In addition to lowering trade tariffs, the deal includes common environmental, labor, and regulatory standards that, if enacted, will likely help define the economic rules of the road for the region writ large.

A longtime priority of the Obama Administration, TPP is seen as a test of U.S. commitment to its policy of strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. The deal’s future is still in doubt, however, as Congress soon begins its statutory 90-day review period. Trade promotion authority legislation passed with smaller-than-expected margins this summer, and several members who supported that legislation stressed that their votes by no means were a lock for the final deal. 

While the agreement toughens environmental and labor policies for many Pacific Rim nations, unions and industry groups still have many items of contention—notably compromises on intellectual property and patent provisions. Further, some observers argue that it is a thinly-veiled attempt to “contain” China’s influence in the region, an institutionalization of U.S.-oriented economic policies that could inflame tensions with the world’s second largest economy. 

Widely seen as a last-ditch negotiation round, today’s agreement represents a victory for the administration and its policies toward the Asia-Pacific region. Now the White House must turn its attention to to a rival more daunting than China—Congress. 

Cronin and Krejsa are available for interviews. To arrange an interview, please contact Neal Urwitz at nurwitz@cnas.org or 202-457-9409.

  • Harry Krejsa

    Bacevich Fellow, Asia-Pacific Security Program

    Harry Krejsa is the Bacevich Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), working in the Asia-Pacific Security Program. His research areas include Chinese economic...

  • Dr. Patrick M. Cronin

    Senior Advisor and Senior Director, Asia-Pacific Security Program

    Patrick M. Cronin is a Senior Advisor and Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Previously, he was the Senior ...