Former United States Secretary John Kerry delivers remarks on TPP at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington D.C. on September 28, 2016. Photo by the U.S. Department of State

What’s next for TPP?

February 8, 2017

With the United States withdrawing out of TPP, many signatories are left wondering what to do next.

TPP, or the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, began as an expansion of TPSEP, the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Agreement. The TPSEP was signed in 2005 by Brunei, Chile, Singapore, and New Zealand.

On January of 2008, the United States entered into negotiations regarding trade liberalization or the reductions of restrictions or barriers on the free exchange of goods between nations.

The TPP was signed by twelve nations in 2016 by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam.

The goal of TPP is to lower tariffs and bind nations together while also serving as a buttress against China’s growing regional influence in the Pacific.

Former President Obama said in October 2015 before agreeing to the TPP,  “We can’t let countries like China write the rules of the global economy. We should write those rules.”

But on January 23, 2017, President Donald Trump formally  withdrew from TPP saying “We’re going to stop the ridiculous trade deals that have taken everybody out of our country and take companies out of our country.”

U.S. opponents characterized TPP as being secretive, favoring big business, favored other countries at the expense of jobs, and national sovereignty.

Opponents also feared that if TPP was to come into force, more American jobs would be sent overseas to other nations.

President Donald Trump has criticized TPP by saying that “it’s 5,000 pages long, so complex that nobody’s read it.”

Australia’s trade minister Steven Ciobo responded to the U.S. withdrawal by saying “The TPP, including the United States, certainly can’t go forward unless the United States wants to change its mind… We have an agreement that has made a lot of very big gains. Gains that Australia, Japan, Canada, Mexico and other countries want to keep hold of. Which is why a number of us had a conversation about a possible TPP 12 minus one.”

In other words, Steven Ciobo wants to have a TPP minus the United States and doesn’t want to see all of TPP’s efforts go to waste.

Supporters of TPP are left worried about China’s growing influence and the effects of withdrawing from the trade agreement.

Wasilla High School students should watch for future trade deals that could possibly benefit Alaska in some way or another and watch China’s growing influence in the Pacific.

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