Image Credits: Photo by Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS

On February 2nd, 2015, Representative Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) introduced to the House of Representatives a resolution in support of a trade agreement.  This was called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.  It was referred to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade where it awaits action by committee members.  

In a press release on October 5th, 2015, those responsible for the five years of negotiations announced the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to the public.  They called it an historic agreement to promote economic growth, support higher-paying jobs; enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raise living standards; reduce poverty in our countries; and to promote transparency, good governance, and strong labor and environmental protections.”

Ever since, this trade agreement has drawn both praise and criticism from people across the political spectrum. It has also demanded the attention of politicians and the media alike. It can become a bit tedious to dig through the staggering amount of information about it.  Here are the basics of what you need to know about the Trans-Pacific Partnership:

1) What does the TPP address?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership itself, which is available in its entirety to be read here, is first and foremost a trade agreement. It covers a range of issues that are related to trade.  This include intellectual property to the environment to regulatory coherence.

2) Who is involved?

Altogether, there are twelve countries in the deal, but these nations have stated that in the future they would be open to expanding.  This would include the addition of other countries with economies that have an equal strength and potential. The initial twelve are as follows: Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, United States, Vietnam, Chile, Brunei, Singapore, and New Zealand. All are members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United States holds Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with Australia, Peru, Singapore, Mexico, and Canada.

3) How will the TPP impact me?

The United States Trade Representative website states that the TPP will “level the playing field for American workers and American businesses.” This is because of the support that the agreement lends our country in leadership, jobs, growth, and values. In addition to enhancing and “bring(ing) NAFTA into the 21st century,” this trade agreement is also supposed to further the protection of human rights, improve how government institutions manage public policy, advocate for development and digital trade, while also “ensuring fair competition with state-owned enterprises.”

4) How will the TPP impact the United States economy?

It is said to have numerous economic benefits, for small businesses, and the manufacturing, agricultural, and auto industries.  This would in turn potentially stimulate America’s economy. On top of that, it is also says that it will allow for “[American] workers to effectively compete in the modern economy” through protecting said workers, the environment, and the Internet.

5) Where do the presidential candidates stand on the TPP?

Donald Trump, GOP nominee, is firmly opposed to the deal, calling it a “job killer” and “disaster.” The Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton has also voiced her opposition to the agreement.  She initially supported the deal as Secretary of State.  She stated, “Once I saw the outcome [of the TPP], I opposed it.” Green Party nominee Jill Stein is against the TPP, as well. Libertarian nominee, Gary Johnson is on the other side, supporting the trade agreement, as is Evan McMullin.  Evan is an Independent who recently launched his presidential campaign.

Now it is your turn to decided where you stand on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. No matter what side you end up on, I encourage you to look at and read parts of the deal.  Specifically the ones that will apply to you and your future. You may end up changing your mind along the way.

Bailey L
Bailey is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who enjoys writing, traveling, and coffee. When she isn't working, you can find her with her nose in a book or planning her next adventure.

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