Pacific Rim Trade Deal Reached; Obama’s Economic Agenda Gets Boost

Protestors in Atlanta stage marches against the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which was reached Monday after years of talks. (Paul Handley/AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors in Atlanta stage marches against the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which was reached Monday after years of talks. (Paul Handley/AFP/Getty Images)

The United States, Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim nations reached agreement Monday on the largest free-trade accord in a generation, an ambitious effort led by the Obama administration to knit together economies across a vast region.

The deal capped more than five years of arduous negotiations on a project central to President Obama’s economic agenda and potentially hand him a legacy-defining victory late in his presidency.

Negotiators spent a feverish week of talks to find consensus on terms for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). On Sunday, plans to publicly announce a deal were delayed several times as the parties wrangled over the technical details related to market access for dairy products and new-generation biologic medicines.

Those are just two sections of a sprawling, multiple-chapter pact that addresses tariff reductions for agriculture and automobiles as well as intellectual-property rights for pharmaceutical drugs and movies, the free flow of information on the Internet, wildlife conservation, online commerce and dispute settlements for multinational corporations.

During the crunch-time talks, the sense of urgency was elevated by political elections in Canada this month and the United States next year. Opponents of the deal have staged demonstrations inside and outside a Westin hotel in Atlanta, where the negotiators are meeting.

The Obama administration has cast the accord as a historic effort to establish new rules of international commerce among a dozen nations at a time when evolving technologies are disrupting old industries and creating new ones. The 12 TPP nations — the others are Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam — account for a combined 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product.

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SOURCE: David Nakamura
The Washington Post