The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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The economic and strategic architectures of Asia are evolving. One part of this evolving architecture is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement TPP, a free trade agreement that includes nations on both sides of the Pacific. The existing TPP, which originally came into effect in 2006, consists of Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore. The United States, Australia, Peru, and Vietnam have committed themselves to joining and expanding this group. The second round of discussions among the eight countries took place in San Francisco, during the week of June 14, 2010. Other architectures, such as the Association of South East Asian Nations ASEAN, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation APEC forum, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudds Asia-Pacific community initiative, and the East Asia Summit EAS have both economic and strategic aspects. They can be grouped into two categories 1 groupings that are Asia-centric in approach and exclude the United States, and 2 those that are Trans-Pacific in nature and that include, or would include, the United States and other Western Hemispheric nations. The TPP is one vehicle that could be used to shape the U.S. agenda with the region. U.S. participation in the TPP would involve the negotiation of FTAs with New Zealand, Brunei, and, potentially, Vietnam. The United States currently has FTAs in force with Chile, Singapore, Australia, and Peru. Bilateral negotiations with New Zealand may focus on agricultural goods such as beef and dairy products. The possible inclusion of Vietnam may prove controversial from the standpoint of certain U.S. industry groups, such as textiles and apparel, as well as those concerned with labor, human rights and intellectual property issues. The involvement of Vietnam could add a higher level of difficulty, yet is illustrative of the challenges associated with developing a truly Asia-Pacific-wide trade grouping.
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