All 12 countries involved in the five-year negotiation process for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have reached a meeting of the minds on the free-trade agreement, as have some airfreight organizations, such as the U.S. Airforwarders Association (AfA), FedEx and UPS.
The agreement will cover approximately 40 percent of the global marketplace and will accelerate the flow of goods through supply chains in regions with the world’s fastest-growing economies, said the AfA. Michelle Halkerston, CEO of Hassett Express and AfA board president, said that more than one in five U.S. jobs depends on exports and imports, and that trade-dependent jobs have more than tripled over the past 20 years as a result of other trade agreements.
It is estimated that the TPP will eliminate more than 18,000 existing tariffs on American products. The agreement also includes minimum standards for the protection of intellectual property, workers and the environment. All parties will be called on to enforce the International Labor Organization’s basic principles on workers’ rights. Countries that don’t live up to the deal’s environmental standards can be pursued through the same dispute-settlement agreement that would apply to commercial grievances.
The tentative deal still has to be approved by the U.S. Congress, which has 90 days to review the TPP agreement before voting. Lawmakers in all 12 countries involved must get approval from their governments as well.
There is opposition to the TPP, because it could take away American jobs. The deceleration of China’s economy and the lingering effects from the Great Recession still felt in many other countries has led to a slow-down in international trade, critics noted. However, TPP supporters said that increasing trade is one way to boost the economies of less-developed countries.
The 12 countries that are a part of the TPP are the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei and Singapore.
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