The Obama Administration has begun talks with Asian and Latin American nations to enter into the Trans-Pacific Strategic and Economic Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The talks with Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam were originally initiated by the Bush Administration. As the first trade agreement negotiations entered into by the Obama administration, the TPPA is the critical venue in which the administration can formally create and then implement a new U.S. trade agreement model to replace the failed Bush-NAFTA model. The process by which President Obama approaches the TPPA will determine whether the administration will follow through with his commitments to new transparency and inclusiveness in U.S. trade policymaking.
In 2006, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore and Brunei signed the TPPA. Currently, the United States, Australia, Malaysia, Peru, and Vietnam are negotiating endorsing this proposal at the APEC 2011 summit in Hawaii.
This is likely a NAFTA style agreement– as Lori Wallach remarks in the video, “it’s the only kind of agreement the United States ratifies,” and is currently being negotiated in closed-door sessions. Lori Wallach and Professor Jane Kelsey, (who wrote “Big Brothers Behaving Badly: The implications for the Pacific Islands of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER)), have edited an anthology entitled “No Ordinary Deal: Unmasking the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement,” which was just released last month, in November, 2010.
A good resource for the introduction of these free-trade agreements can be found here: global exchange, and more on the TPPA U.S. Trade Policy can be resourced here at the Trans Pacific Partnership Digest.
It should be noted that once signed, the enforcement of these trade agreements– should disputes arise– often result in trade sanctions which invariably hurts labor and instigates military presence in the region.
As part of the ongoing negotiations over the U.S.’s Pacific Plan, the strategy for development and the objectives of these agreements have already been formalized by Secretary of State Clinton earlier this year.]]>