The Trans-Pacific Partnership and its Impact on EU Trade

25-02-2013

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is perhaps the most ambitious trade initiative — both in its scope and in the number of negotiating countries — to have been launched since the breakdown of the World Trade Organisation’s Doha round of negotiations. The TPP, which has become US-led initiative since Washington formally joined the negotiating process in 2009, is widely perceived as a key component of the US’s recent ‘pivot’ towards Asia. The agreement’s provisions are designed to boost US trade policy by helping Washington increase exports to the Asia-Pacific region, and to do so on Washington's own terms. The TPP is also often viewed as a platform for achieving wider US foreign policy goals, and specifically countering the rising influence of China in the region. The potential economic gains for all participating countries are significant and projected to grow as the number of participants rises. Yet the obstacles to concluding the agreement are formidable and raise doubts about its feasibility. The uncertainty surrounding the TPP is further compounded by its closed-door negotiations, which leave many important questions unanswered. The impact of the TPP on the EU is likely to be negative, making the EU’s efforts to conclude free trade agreements with various Asian economies more urgent than ever.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is perhaps the most ambitious trade initiative — both in its scope and in the number of negotiating countries — to have been launched since the breakdown of the World Trade Organisation’s Doha round of negotiations. The TPP, which has become US-led initiative since Washington formally joined the negotiating process in 2009, is widely perceived as a key component of the US’s recent ‘pivot’ towards Asia. The agreement’s provisions are designed to boost US trade policy by helping Washington increase exports to the Asia-Pacific region, and to do so on Washington's own terms. The TPP is also often viewed as a platform for achieving wider US foreign policy goals, and specifically countering the rising influence of China in the region. The potential economic gains for all participating countries are significant and projected to grow as the number of participants rises. Yet the obstacles to concluding the agreement are formidable and raise doubts about its feasibility. The uncertainty surrounding the TPP is further compounded by its closed-door negotiations, which leave many important questions unanswered. The impact of the TPP on the EU is likely to be negative, making the EU’s efforts to conclude free trade agreements with various Asian economies more urgent than ever.