News / Economy

Trans Pacific Trade Deal Delayed

Trans Pacific Trade Deal Delayedi
X
December 12, 2013 11:03 PM
Top trade officials reported progress, but no final deal, after negotiations this week in Singapore on the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP. Advocates say the TPP would streamline commerce, boost the economy, and create jobs by coordinating regulations and removing non-tariff barriers for 12 Pacific nations from America to Vietnam. But U.S. critics say some of those "barriers" are hard-won protections for consumers, the environment, and workers. VOA’s Jim Randle reports.
Top trade officials reported progress, but no final deal, after negotiations this week in Singapore on the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP.  Advocates say the TPP would streamline commerce, boost the economy, and create jobs by coordinating regulations and removing non-tariff barriers for 12 Pacific nations from America to Vietnam.  But U.S. critics say some of those "barriers" are hard-won protections for consumers, the environment, and workers.

The 12 nations haggling over the Trans Pacific Partnership include some of the world’s most robust economies, accounting for about one-third of global trade.
U. S. Congressman Charles Boustany says a lot of jobs already depend on trade among TPP nations, so more trade would mean more jobs.

“In 2011, trade exports and imports of goods and services with TPP countries supported an estimated 14.9 million American jobs," said Boustany.

The Pacific nations set to resume trade talks in January include Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States.

Disputes include access to Japan's market for U.S. autos and agricultural products, and haggling among other nations about protection for intellectual property.  

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman hopes further negotiations will bring progress.

"We will continue to work with flexibility to finalize these text issues as well as market access issues," he said.

Experts say previous trade deals focused on cutting tariffs, which made it cheaper to move goods from one nation to another.   Lower costs encouraged more trade.  Tariffs are taxes on goods moving across borders.

TPP is an attempt to increase trade further by making regulations consistent from one nation to another, and getting rid of bureaucratic obstacles that take time, cost money, and slow trade, according to Washington attorney and former trade U. S. trade negotiator Jay Eizenstat.   

"Non tariff barriers, behind the border barriers, and importantly, regulatory barriers, which as I have said impose at least as much ...  and in many cases, more of a barrier to trade in goods and services, than the actual tariffs themselves," said Eizenstat.

But some of those regulations protect consumers, the financial system, the environment, patients, workers, and others from harm, according to Lori Wallach of the advocacy group Public Citizen.  

"They label the fundamental environmental, health, safety standards on which our families rely as 'non-tariff trade barrier,"' she said.

Wallach says the TPP is more about politics than trade.

“A bunch of big corporations have used these trade agreements to try to get done through the back door of these secretive negotiations what they could not get through Congress," she said.

Opposition from some consumer and labor groups and many of President Obama's Democratic Party allies means a TPP deal faces an uncertain future in Washington.  The agreement has to be ratified by many national legislatures, including the U.S. Congress.

TPP supporters hope to work out a legislative agreement to prevent last minute changes by Congress to any agreement that has been worked out with the TPP nations.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9009
JPY
USD
123.09
GBP
USD
0.6387
CAD
USD
1.2524
INR
USD
63.605

Rates may not be current.