Columns / Discourse / February 26, 2014

Considering the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Bring 21st century to world economics

The 12 countries pursuing the economic proposition of a Trans-Pacific Partnership represent a near 40 percent of the world’s GDP and approximately 33 percent of its trade, so I have to say that such an agreement is a pretty big deal, whether it becomes a reality or not.

Specifically in Asia, such a peaceful outreach could be especially beneficial to countries that are eager to trade more freely for North American goods that may not appear in their current markets. The most significant issue throughout these talks seems to lay between the largest economies involved in the talks: Japan and the United States. 

Talks between these two countries revolving around the trade of cars and rice do not seem to be going as well as many supporters would have hoped, despite leaders from Singapore reporting that the negotiations’ finish are “very close.” Many have criticized such negotiations, citing their secrecy and clandestine attitude. Despite all of this, I sincerely believe that such an agreement between two substantial continents and economic powers would be extremely beneficial for international relations on both sides of the Pacific.

These negotiations, in addition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is allegedly going to bring a substantial “boost” to the economy of the world and bring a modern, “21st-century” atmosphere into several aspects of world economics, such as “labor standards, environmental safeguards, intellectual property (i.e. patents and copyrights) government procurement and the treatment of state-owned enterprises.”

Such an agreement could be tremendously successful and extremely beneficial to the rest of the world, let alone those economies directly involved. In the past, the trend has been to disregard the positive impact that a free market really has on the world; such a ridiculous trend should quickly disappear so that the rest of the world can reap the rewards of a healthy economy.

Whatever the negotiators have to say about outsourcing and labor unions, however, could go in a different direction. Such matters are typically kept within the borders of individual countries, but such talks could potentially change that. I am not a fan of outsourcing and personally believe that businesses should stay within the borders of that country and support said country’s own economics, so if negotiations can help make that more of a reality, this could be an extremely positive venture. When it comes to labor unions, I am pessimistically curious as to what international discussion could possibly come of labor unions. Perhaps the dissolution of such would be the way to go on an international level.

The president’s trip to Mexico to meet with Mexican and Canadian officials on Feb. 26, which is allegedly only supposed to last a mere nine hours, has already borne the brunt of some international frustration. Canadian officials have expressed annoyance in the amount of time it has taken the U.S. to discuss the Keystone pipeline between western Canada and Nebraska, and their Mexican counterparts are still a little miffed that the United States’s NSA took the time to spy on current president Enrique Pena Nieto before he was elected, so communications have the potential to get a little awkward within those nine hours. Hopefully, an agreement can be met in both North America and across the Pacific. An end to hostility and worldwide economic success could potentially come out of these negotiations, which is why I completely support an Asian-North American trade agreement.

Shannon Caveny

Tags:  Asian-North American trade Bank of America canada China CitiGroup Harry Reid HIPA labor unions Nancy Pelosi obama SOPA TPP Trans-Pacific Partnership

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