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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7866
JPY
USD
109.25
GBP
USD
0.6139
CAD
USD
1.1120
INR
USD
61.428

Rates may not be current.