Representatives from a dozen nations have reached a deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a landmark trade agreement authored to govern commerce in a zone covering 40 percent of the world’s economy, according to multiple published reports.
Trade ministers have hunkered down in Atlanta for days to hash out a deal, which has been under negotiation for nearly eight years.
A formal announcement of the pact is expected today.
The trade talks have faced intense scrutiny from labor groups and many conservatives. It’s also caught the ire of environmental groups concerned that the trade pact would allow the interests of big business to trump environmental protections. Complaints about the talks have included the fact that they have been held in secret with few details available for public review.
The deal would gradually phase out thousands of tariffs, weaken other forms of trade restrictions and even set ground rules for intellectual property across a dozen countries.
The New York Times reported Monday:
The Office of the United States Trade Representative said the partnership eventually would end more than 18,000 tariffs that the participating countries have placed on United States exports, including autos, machinery, information technology and consumer goods, chemicals and agricultural products ranging from avocados in California to wheat, pork and beef from the Plains states.
Japan’s other barriers, like regulations and design criteria that effectively keep out American-made cars and light trucks, would come down.
While many opponents object that the trade pact will kill jobs or send them overseas, the administration contends that the United States has more to gain from freer trade with the Pacific nations. Eighty percent of those nations’ exports to the United States are already duty-free, officials say, while American products face assorted barriers in those countries that would end.
The talks went into overtime as a deal had been expected over the weekend.
As the AJC’s Mike Kanell reported last week, the TPP is strongly backed by the Obama administration and much of the business community, but is harshly criticized by many labor and environmental groups, as well as some businesses. Mayor Kasim Reed supported the deal a press conference at an Atlanta manufacturer.