The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will increase trade, but will it undermine democracy, public services, and the environment?

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TPP pros and cons: TPP will increase trade, but will it undermine democracy, public services, and the environment?

Source: Image by Gobierno de Chile

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is highly controversial. We debate the pros and cons of this ambitious trade agreement and whether Donald Trump decision to withdraw from this free trade agreement is right. Vote in our poll & share your views (below)

Debate created by GlobalNET21

Trump withdraws from TPP

One of the first decisions President Donald Trump has made is the withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). On 23 January 2016, only 3 days after arriving to the White House, Trump has signed an executive order to start the process of disengagement from the largest trade pact in the world. Many warn that this is the first step toward a wideranging protectionist strategy that could have important implications for businesses and trigger a trade war with some of the traditional US trade partners. 

This free-trade agreement created huge debate during its drafting and negotiation. Some experts argued than an agreement like this had  to be reached in an open and transparent way and that the fact that it was agreed behind closed doors indicated that the interest of large multinational corporations may have prioritized over citizens interests and democratic values.

What Is the TPP?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is one of the most ambitious free trade agreements ever attempted which has similarities with the TTIP between the US and EU. The TPP agreement is the successor of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement or TPSEP signed by Singapore, New Zealand, Chile and Brunei in 2005. Several other countries gradually enter the discussions for further trade liberalization in the Pacific area. The US, Australia, Vietnam and Peru joined the negotiations in 2008, Malaysia in 2010, Canada and Mexico in 2012, and Japan in 2013.

TPP's ambitious goals are to promote trade, investment , economic growth, job creation, development and innovation through the collaboration of the signing countries. Although intitially the goal was to conclude the negotiations in 2012, due to discrepancies in views concerning intellectual property, agriculture and services among others, the talks for the TPP are still ongoing.  US President Obama made of the TPP is one of the primary goals of his trade agenda. But Donald Trump promised to take America out of the TPP group.

The supporters of TPP have billed it as a pathway to unlock future growth of the countries involved in the pact. The critics have been equally vociferous, not least because of the secrecy surrounding the negotiations of the agreement.

TPP pros and cons

The Case For

The benefits of removing significant tariff and non-tariff barriers that restrict global trade and investment of goods and services supporters of TPP argue are significant. There are several reasons to support the TPP despite globalization concerns.

  • First, the TPP — which seeks to govern exchange of not only traditional goods and services, but also intellectual property and foreign investment — would promote trade in knowledge-intensive services in which companies exert a strong comparative advantage.
  • Second, it is argued that killing the TPP would do little to bring factory work back to America or other countries involved and  the potential gains of the TPP for the partners are significant. 
  • Third, some have argued that although China is not part of the TPP, enacting the agreement would raise regulatory rules and standards for several of China’s key trading partners. That would pressure China to meet some of those standards and cease its attempts to game global trade to impede foreign multinational companies.

The Case Against

There are several arguments poining at the potential risks linked to the implementation of TPP: 

  • There are fears over the impact TPP may have on certain products and services in member countries and some campaign groups have raised concerns about the impact such a wide-ranging agreement may have on intellectual property laws and patent enforcement. The fear the deal may extend the scope of patents in sectors such a medicine and prevent the distribution of generic drugs. 
  • Leaked documents from TPP negotiations reveals that the deal would even empower foreign corporations to skirt domestic courts and directly challenge our health, environmental and other public interest policies before extrajudicial foreign tribunals. Consequently our national democracies would be undermined. The Canadian social activist Naomi Klein goes further and claims: ‚Äč“The Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP—has been called 'NAFTA on steroids.' It’s the latest and largest in a series of international agreements that have attacked working women and men, fuelled mindless and carbon-intensive consumption, and prevented governments from enforcing their own laws to cut greenhouse gas emissions.”
  • Finally, a major criticism is that it is currently being negotiated behind closed doors by officials from the United States and 11 the other countries. The lack of transparency and accountability in these highly important negotiations makes very difficult for some stakeholders and experts to provide any input in the process. 


Emerging questions: Do you think The Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP mainly benefits trade and living standards or do you think it undermines democracy, attack public services, and threaten the advances in environmental policies? Will the TPP help the people by stimulating economic growth and employment or is it just putting more power in the hands of multinational companies? Was Trump decision to withdraw from TPP right? How should this disengagement be, quick or as fast as possible?

Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership a good deal?  Vote in the poll below and let us know what you think about open government, its desirability and how it can be achieved. Please invite other to vote and join the discusion.

If you change your mind, you can change your vote simply by clicking on another option.

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will increase trade, but will it undermine democracy, public services, and the environment?

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