10/7/2015 Wilson Center
By Diana Villiers Negroponte, Mexico Institute Advisory Board Member
On October 4, the 12 trading partners in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) reached agreement after tough negotiations lasting 7 years.  The final hurdles on intellectual property protection for pharmaceuticals, market access for dairy products and rules of origin for automobiles were resolved at the recent meeting in Atlanta. (In 2008, President Bush joined the trade negotiations which had started with 3 nations in 2002). The sense of relief is notable, but TTP must still be approved by the U.S. Congress. All 12 countries need U.S. leadership on this major trade agreement and all made concessions to keep the U.S. in the game. For the United States to reject TPP because of pressure from the tobacco, pharmaceutical or any other specific industrial group would indicate American reluctance to play a leadership role in the world. The 11 other parties to TPP are watching the U.S. Congress closely. Will it accept this agreement impacting countries that account for 40% of global GDP and 26% of world trade, or will it withdraw into domestic partisan fights and ignore the global impact?