[Excerpt] The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a potential free trade agreement (FTA) among 11, and perhaps more, countries. The United States and 10 other countries of the Asia-Pacific region— Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam—are negotiating the text of the FTA. Canada and Mexico participated for the first time in the Auckland round of negotiations in December 2012, and Japan and Thailand are also considering the possibility of joining. With 29 chapters under negotiation, the TPP partners envision the agreement to be “comprehensive and high-standard,” in that they seek to eliminate tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade in goods, services, and agriculture, and to establish rules on a wide range of issues including foreign direct investment and other economic activities. They also strive to create a “21st-century agreement” that addresses new and cross-cutting issues presented by an increasingly globalized economy.
The TPP draws congressional interest on a number of fronts. Congress would have to approve implementing legislation for U.S. commitments under the agreement to enter into force. In addition, under long-established executive-legislative practice, the Administration notifies and consults with congressional leaders, before, during, and after trade agreements have been negotiated. Furthermore, the TPP will likely affect a range of sectors and regions of the U.S. economy of direct interest to Members of Congress and could influence the shape and path of U.S. trade policy for the foreseeable future.
This report examines the issues related to the proposed TPP, the state and substance of the negotiations (to the degree that the information is publically available), the specific areas under negotiation, the policy and economic contexts in which the TPP would fit, and the issues for Congress that the TPP presents. The report will be revised and updated as events warrant.