A Legal Analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
Edited by Tania Voon
Chapter 3: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and development
Differential treatment for developing countries has long been a feature of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1947 (GATT) before it. Developing countries may avail themselves of myriad provisions within the WTO agreements that permit them to make lesser concessions than developed countries; to engage in activities not permitted for developed countries; and to take longer to implement commitments than developed countries. In addition, within the WTO negotiating framework, developing countries can join together to attempt to influence the negotiating agenda consistent with their interests. Free trade agreements (FTAs) have generally presented a different environment for developing countries. Special and differential treatment is less consistently a feature of FTAs than it is of the GATT and WTO agreements. Furthermore, in the context of negotiating an FTA, developing countries are often not as able to negotiate on an even footing with developed country partners as they are in the WTO. The Trans- Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a free trade agreement, but a somewhat unusual one. Most FTAs are bilateral; in contrast, the TPP is a plurilateral agreement currently being negotiated amongst 11 countries. In addition, the TPP partners comprise multiple developed and multiple developing countries. Furthermore, the TPP participants have sought to create a ëhigh standards, twenty-first centuryí trade agreement with more broad- reaching coverage than any FTA to date. The TPP therefore has various implications for developing countries, some of which mirror those relevant to developing countries in the context of bilateral FTA negotiations, and some of which are more particular to this agreement.
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