Trans-Pacific Partnership Publicly Released, Approval is Next Hurdle

One month after announcing the conclusion of negotiations, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today released the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP).  The TPP’s 12 partner countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam, which together represent 40 percent of the global economy.  

The TPP’s 2,000 pages and 30 chapters aim to lower tariffs and set common standards on a broad range of trade- and investment-related issues.  Perkins Coie’s initial report on the conclusion of TPP negotiations details the breadth of the agreement, which would eliminate import duties on select items and includes commitments related to investment, financial services, e-commerce, government procurement, competition policy, and labor and environmental standards, among others. 

In addition, the TPP contains numerous industry-specific chapters and side agreements, such as those relating to textiles and apparel, agriculture, automobiles, telecommunications and electronics.  Certain provisions of the TPP are subject to a dispute settlement mechanism similar to that of the World Trade Organization (WTO). 

Significant hurdles remain before the TPP would go into effect.  In the United States, Congress will vote on whether to approve or disapprove the TPP but cannot amend it under trade promotion authority legislation approved earlier this year.  Some lawmakers have expressed opposition to the deal, reflecting concerns from certain labor and environmental groups, the pharmaceutical industry and the tobacco industry, among others.  In addition, the TPP will have to be domestically ratified by the 11 other partner countries before it can take effect. 

Companies conducting business in or with TPP countries should contact experienced counsel for guidance in assessing how the agreement could affect their operations.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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