A Legal Analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
Edited by Tania Voon
Chapter 1: Introduction: national regulatory autonomy and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
As the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations within the World Trade Organization (WTO) continues to flounder, all eyes have turned to a series of plurilateral trade agreements being negotiated around the world, with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) at the centre. The core group of countries negotiating this agreement has expanded well beyond the initial members of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (ëP4í): New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam and Chile. Negotiations with the additional TPP partners of Australia, Malaysia, Peru, the United States and Vietnam began in Melbourne in 2010, with Canada and Mexico joining discussions in 2012 and Japan most recently joining in 2013, bringing the number of negotiating countries to 12. At the time of writing in May 2013, the 17th round of negotiations is taking place in Peru. The global significance of the agreement is reflected not only in the already burgeoning literature on the subject, but more importantly in its potential economic benefits. The current negotiating countries in the TPP in 2012 had a collective GDP of more than US$27,500 billion and a population of more than 790 million. Existing trade between TPP partners is extensive, with the United States a dominant partner. According to one study, adding Japan to the agreement (as is under way at the time of writing) will extend the global benefits of an agreement from $75 billion to $223 billion per year, and adding Korea (as may happen in the future) would further increase benefits to $295 billion per year.