Trans-Pacific Partnership – Good on Tariffs But Loaded with Non-Trade Issues

Acting on the earliest possible date under congressionally-mandated rules, the U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and ministers of 11 other countries signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement in Auckland, New Zealand on Wednesday. The signing brings together 12 Pacific-rim countries (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam) in a deal that represents almost 40 percent of the world’s GDP.

CEI's Iain Murray (bio) praised the elimination of tariffs but criticized all the non-trade provisions that complicate the agreement.

Statement by Iain Murray, Director of CEI’s Center for Economic Freedom

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement eliminates thousands of tariffs but also includes extraneous, non-trade issues with unneeded complexities and special interests. Namely, the agreement deals with issues that aren’t integral to free trade, such as labor rights, environmental provisions, intellectual property, and investor-state dispute settlement.

Those extraneous issues, in turn, create a more contentious debate on trade agreements, to the detriment of economic growth for all parties. That outcome is unfortunate because economic growth can lead to improved labor and environmental conditions, greater competition, better products and prices, and openness to new ideas.

Free trade needs to be free, not highly regulated.

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