New Trade Agreement Reached with Pacific Rim Nations
The United States Trade Representative’s office announced that it successfully concluded the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, signaling it had reached a trade agreement between Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam, Chile, Brunei, Singapore, and New Zealand. According to the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, the TPP agreement aims to “promote economic growth; support the creation and retention of jobs; enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raise living standards reduce poverty in our countries; and promote transparency, good governance, and enhanced labor and environmental protections.” Among the many provisions, the TPP parties agree to:
- Eliminate and reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers on industrial and agriculture goods
- Make tariffs and information related to goods trade more accessible to small and medium size businesses
- Publish their customs laws and regulations, as well as providing for release of goods without unnecessary delay and on bond or ‘payment under protest’ where customs has not yet made a decision of duties or fees owed
- Provide expedited customs procedures for express shipments
- Make e-commerce more accessible by not requiring TPP companies to build data centers to store data as a condition for operating in a TPP market
- Prohibit customs duties on electronic transmissions
- Make it easier for businesses to search, register, and protect IP rights in new markets
- Provide protections of brand names and other signs that businesses and individual use to distinguish their products in the marketplace
- Establish commitments requiring protection for works, performances, and phonograms such as songs, movies, books, and software, and includes effective and balanced provisions on technological protection measures and rights managements information
- Provide strong enforcement system, including civil procedures, provisional measures, order measures, and criminal procedures and penalties for commercial-scale trademark counterfeiting and copyright or related rights piracy
- Create user-friendly websites, targeted at small and medium sized businesses, that describes TPP’s relevant provisions including regulations and procedures concerning intellectual property rights, foreign investment regulations, business registration procedures employment regulations, and taxation information
While representatives from each of the 12 TPP countries have agreed to these and other provisions, the agreement must be reviewed and approved by legislatures, including the U.S. Congress. Current law states that the Congress will have a 90-day window to review the agreement, once it receives notice from the White House that the President intends to sign the accord. A vote is not expected until sometime mid-2016.
To learn more about the TPP agreement, visit the United States Trade Representative’s website.