The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is currently negotiating with seven other countries to form a new trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP has the potential to expand into a Free Trade Agreement of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). At present there are several competing models for Asia-Pacific economic integration that exclude the United States entirely. In such an environment, the TPP presents the United States with a welcome opportunity, not only to participate, but also to take a leadership role in establishing the terms for a region-wide agreement. Nevertheless, the USTR must make the TPP sufficiently attractive to other Asia-Pacific economies, such that those countries will prefer the TPP over other integration models. This will require the USTR to partially diverge from its standard FTA template and liberalize in new areas. Although doing so may be politically challenging, it is the United States’ best strategy if it wishes to solidify a role for itself in an economically integrated Asia-Pacific.
Meredith K. Lewis,
The Trans-Pacific Partnership: New Paradigm or Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing? ,
B.C. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev.