Article Date: 09/30/2015

In an attempt to finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the world’s largest free-trade pact, trade ministers from the 12 participating countries met on Wednesday in Atlanta as conclusions were not made at the July meeting. Between country differences, lobbyists, and protestors, coming to a finalized agreement is proving to be a daunting task.

The top sensitive issues include, but are not limited to, U.S. import barriers on certain car parts from Japan, an open market to Australia and New Zealand dairy products, and the U.S. request for a 12 year patent protection on new-generation pharmaceuticals. In hopes of completing this pact before the upcoming United States presidential election, President Barack Obama and Washington are pressed for time. As Washington is sprinting to conclude negotiations, many feel the hurrying could lead to the Obama administration giving away too much; therefore, the agreements would not be optimal for our country.

The 12 members of the TPP include: the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, Japan, Vietnam, New Zealand, and Malaysia equaling about 40 percent of the global economy. Obama’s hopes to “pivot toward Asia” could be squashed if TPP talks fail. China is already attempting their own Asia trade agreement.

Even though there are several key issues left to conclude, a large range of issues have been covered including “governments’ protection of state-owned enterprises, to setting up extraterritorial tribunals to settle disputes between governments and foreign investors, to the use of capital controls in a country’s financial system.”

As negotiation deals have been kept in secrecy and unofficial TPP texts have been leaked, individuals and businesses alike are becoming uneasy. Will TPP negotiations come to a conclusion soon?

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