The long-awaited text of a landmark U.S.-backed Pacific trade deal was released today, revealing the details of a pact aimed at freeing up commerce in 40 percent of the world’s economy.
China has responded with its own Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a proposed 16-nation free-trade area including India that would be the world’s biggest such bloc, encompassing 3.4 billion people.
“The TPP means that America will write the rules of the road in the 21st century,” Obama said in post online. “If we don’t pass this agreement – if America doesn’t write those rules – then countries like China will.”
The White House is likely to formally notify U.S. lawmakers today that the President intends to sign the deal, a senior Obama administration official said. That would start the 90-day clock before his signature triggers the next step in the process of seeking final congressional approval.
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said he is reserving judgment on the deal.
“I look forward to reviewing the details of the agreement that was released today,” Ryan said in a statement about the deal. “Enactment of TPP is going to require the administration to fully explain the benefits of this agreement and what it will mean for American families. I continue to reserve judgment on the path ahead.”
The deal does not include measures demanded by some U.S. lawmakers to punish currency manipulation with trade sanctions or set monopoly periods for next-generation biologic drugs at 12 years. All 12 members of the TPP, however, pledged not to deliberately weaken their currencies in a declaration accompanying the deal.
Governments of the 12 member countries released the complete text online with the New Zealand Foreign Ministry being the first, making public the specifics of an agreement that critics complain was forged in secrecy. The full text, all 30 chapters of it, are posted on its site. To view it go here.