Trans-Pacific Partnership

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Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
Leaders of TPP member states.jpg
Leaders of prospective member states at a TPP summit in 2010
Type Trade agreement
Drafted 5 October 2015[1][2][3]
Signed 4 February 2016
Location Auckland, New Zealand
Effective Not in force
Condition Ratification by all signatories, or (2 years after signature) ratification by states corresponding to 85% of GDP of signatories [4]


Ratifiers None
Depositary New Zealand
Languages English (prevailing in case of divergence), Spanish, and French
Trans-Pacific Partnership at Wikisource

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement among twelve Pacific Rim countries signed on 4 February 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand, after seven years of negotiations. It has not entered into force. The 30 chapters of the TPP concern many matters of public policy and the following stated goals: to "promote economic growth; support the creation and retention of jobs; enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raise living standards; reduce poverty in our countries; and promote transparency, good governance, and enhanced labor and environmental protections."[5] Among other things, the TPP contains measures to lower trade barriers, such as tariffs,[6] and establish an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (but states can opt out from tobacco-related measures).[5][7] The United States government considers the TPP a companion agreement to the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a broadly similar agreement between the U.S. and the European Union.[8]

Historically, the TPP is an expansion of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP or P4) signed by Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore in 2005. Beginning in 2008, additional countries joined the discussion for a broader agreement: Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the United States, and Vietnam, bringing the total number of countries participating in the negotiations to twelve. Current trade agreements between participating countries, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, will be reduced to those provisions that do not conflict with the TPP or provide greater trade liberalization than the TPP.[9]

Participating nations aimed at completing negotiations in 2012, but the process was prolonged by disagreements over contentious issues, including agriculture, intellectual property, and services and investments.[10] They finally reached agreement on 5 October 2015.[11] Implementing the TPP has been one of the trade agenda goals of the Obama administration in the U.S.[12] On 5 October 2015, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated he expected "signatures on the finalized text and deal early in the new year, and ratification over the next two years."[13] A version of the treaty text "Subject to Legal Review (...) for Accuracy, Clarity and Consistency"[14] was made public on 5 November 2015, the same day President Obama notified Congress he intended to sign it.[15]


Twelve countries participated in negotiations for the TPP: the four parties to the 2005 Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement and eight additional countries. All twelve signed the TPP on February 4, 2016.[16] The agreement will enter into force after ratification by all signatories, if this occurs within two years. If the agreement is not ratified by all before 4 February 2018, it will enter into force after ratification by at least 6 states which together have a GDP of more than 85% of the GDP of all signatories.

  Potential future members (other APEC member economies)
Country Status 2005 agreement Signature of TPP Start of TPP
 Singapore Party (28 May 2006) 4 February 2016 February 2008
 Brunei Party (28 May 2006) 4 February 2016 February 2008
 New Zealand Party (12 July 2006) 4 February 2016 February 2008
 Chile Party (8 November 2006) 4 February 2016 February 2008
 United States Non-party 4 February 2016 February 2008
 Australia Non-party 4 February 2016 November 2008
 Peru Non-party 4 February 2016 November 2008
 Vietnam Non-party 4 February 2016 November 2008
 Malaysia Non-party 4 February 2016 October 2010
 Mexico Non-party 4 February 2016 October 2012
 Canada[17] Non-party 4 February 2016 October 2012
 Japan Non-party 4 February 2016 May 2013

Potential members[edit]

APEC members may accede to the TPP, as may any other jurisdiction to which existing TPP members agree. After an application for membership is received, a commission of parties to the treaty negotiates conditions for accession.

South Korea did not participate in the 2006 agreement, but showed interest in entering the TPP,[18] and was invited to the TPP negotiating rounds in December 2010 by the U.S. after the successful conclusion of its Free trade agreement between the United States of America and the Republic of Korea.[19] South Korea already had bilateral trade agreements with some TPP members, but areas such as vehicle manufacturing and agriculture still needed to be agreed upon, making further multilateral TPP negotiations somewhat complicated.[20] South Korea may join the TPP as part of a second wave of expansion for the trade agreement.[21]

Other countries and regions interested in TPP membership include Taiwan,[22] the Philippines,[23] and Colombia[24] as of 2010; Thailand[25] and Laos[26] as of 2012; and Indonesia,[27] Cambodia,[28] Bangladesh,[29] and India[30] as of 2013. According to law professor Edmund Sim in 2013, many of these countries needed to change their protectionist trade policies in order to join the TPP.[31]

The largest economy in the Pacific Rim not involved in the negotiations is China. According to the Brookings Institution in 2013, the most fundamental challenge for the TPP project regarding China was that "it may not constitute a powerful enough enticement to propel China to sign on to these new standards on trade and investment. China so far has reacted by accelerating its own trade initiatives in Asia."[32] In 2013, it was thought China might still be interested in joining the TPP eventually.[33] An academic analysis has shown that while the TPP would be more successful if China participated in it, the benefits to China are intangible.[34]

In October 2015, Indonesian President Joko Widodo declared Indonesia's intention to join the TPP.[35]

Sri Lanka has announced interest of joining the TPP and is currently studying its feasibility.[36][37]

Country Status 2005 agreement Status TPP Announced Interest
 Colombia Non-party Announced Interest January 2010
 Philippines Non-party Announced Interest September 2010
 Thailand Non-party Announced Interest November 2012
 Taiwan Non-party Announced Interest September 2013
 South Korea Non-party Announced Interest November 2013
 Indonesia Non-party Declared Intent to Join[35] October 2015


Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement[edit]

Brunei, Chile, Singapore and New Zealand are parties to the Transpacific Economic Partnership Agreement, which was signed in 2005, and entered into force in 2006. The original TPSEP agreement contains an accession clause and affirms the members' "commitment to encourage the accession to this Agreement by other economies".[38][39] It is a comprehensive agreement, affecting trade in goods, rules of origin, trade remedies, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, trade in services, intellectual property, government procurement and competition policy. Among other things, it called for a 90 percent reduction of all tariffs between member countries by 1 January 2006, and reduction of all trade tariffs to zero by the year 2015.[40]

Although original and negotiating parties are members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the TPSEP is not an APEC initiative. However, the TPP is considered to be a pathfinder for the proposed Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), an APEC initiative.

Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations[edit]

In January 2008, the U.S. agreed to enter into talks with the Pacific 4 (P4) members regarding trade liberalisation in financial services.[41] This led to 19 formal negotiation rounds and a subsequent series of additional meetings, such as Chief Negotiators Meetings and Ministers Meetings, and resulted in the agreement announced on 5 October 2015. For details on the negotiations process, see Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.


A version of the text of the agreement "subject to legal review" was released by prospective member parties on 5 November 2015.[42] Portions of drafts of the full agreement were previously leaked to the public.[43] Many of the provisions in the leaked documents are modeled on previous trade agreements.[citation needed]

U.S. Trade Representative's summary[edit]

According to the United States Trade Representative, the TPP agreement includes the following features:

  • "Comprehensive market access. The TPP eliminates or reduces tariff and non-tariff barriers across substantially all trade in goods and services and covers the full spectrum of trade, including goods and services trade and investment, so as to create new opportunities and benefits for our businesses, workers, and consumers.
  • Regional approach to commitments. The TPP facilitates the development of production and supply chains, and seamless trade, enhancing efficiency and supporting our goal of creating and supporting jobs, raising living standards, enhancing conservation efforts, and facilitating cross-border integration, as well as opening domestic markets.
  • Addressing new trade challenges. The TPP promotes innovation, productivity, and competitiveness by addressing new issues, including the development of the digital economy, and the role of state-owned enterprises in the global economy.
  • Inclusive trade. The TPP includes new elements that seek to ensure that economies at all levels of development and businesses of all sizes can benefit from trade. It includes commitments to help small- and medium-sized businesses understand the Agreement, take advantage of its opportunities, and bring their unique challenges to the attention of the TPP governments. It also includes specific commitments on development and trade capacity building, to ensure that all Parties are able to meet the commitments in the Agreement and take full advantage of its benefits.
  • Platform for regional integration. The TPP is intended as a platform for regional economic integration and designed to include additional economies across the Asia-Pacific region."[5]

The TPP agreement includes 30 chapters: Initial Provisions and General Definitions, Trade in Goods, Textiles and Apparel, Rules of Origin, Customs Administration and Trade Facilitation, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Technical Barriers to Trade, Trade Remedies, Investment, Cross-Border Trade in Services, Financial Services, Temporary Entry for Business Persons, Telecommunications, Electronic Commerce, Government Procurement, Competition Policy, State-Owned Enterprises and Designated Monopolies, Intellectual Property, Labour, Environment, Cooperation and Capacity Building, Competitiveness and Business Facilitation, Development, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Regulatory Coherence, Transparency and Anti-Corruption, Administrative and Institutional Provisions, Dispute Settlement, Exceptions, Final Provisions.[5]

Tariffs & other barriers[edit]

The agreement would reduce 18,000 tariffs. Tariffs on all U.S. manufactured goods and almost all U.S. farm products would be eliminated completely, with most eliminations occurring immediately.[44] According to the Congressional Research Service, TPP "would be the largest U.S. FTA by trade flows ($905 billion in U.S. goods and services exports and $980 billion in imports in 2014)".[45]

In addition, the agreement mandates expedited customs procedures for express shipments and prohibits customs duties from being applied to electronic transmissions. It also requires additional privacy, security, and consumer protections for online transactions and encourages the publication of online customs forms. These provisions are expected to be particularly beneficial to small businesses.[44]

Intellectual property provisions[edit]

The intellectual property section of a leaked draft of the TPP lays out a minimum level of protection parties to the Agreement must grant for trademarks, copyright, and patents. Trademarks may be visual, auditory or scents, and are granted exclusive use for trade in a certain field. Copyright is granted at a length of life of the author plus 70 years, and makes willful circumvention of protections (such as Digital Rights Management) illegal. The TPP also establishes that "making available" is the exclusive right of the copyright owner.[citation needed]

WikiLeaks published draft documents during the negotiations: On 13 November 2013, it published a complete draft of the treaty's Intellectual Property Rights Chapter.[46][47] On 16 October 2014, it released a second updated version of the TPP Intellectual Property Rights Chapter.[48] On 9 October 2015, WikiLeaks published the final TPP Intellectual Property chapter.

Investor–state arbitration (ISDS)[edit]

Chapter 9, Section B of the TPP Agreement provides for Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS).[49] ISDS is an instrument of public international law, which grants an investor the right to initiate dispute settlement proceedings against a foreign government. For example, if an investor invests in country "A", a member of a trade treaty, and country A breaches that treaty, then the investor may sue country A's government for the breach.[50] ISDS is meant to provide investors in foreign countries basic protections from foreign government actions such as "freedom from discrimination", "protection against uncompensated expropriation of property", "protection against denial of justice" and "right to transfer capital".[51]

The ISDS provisions in TPP do not apply to tobacco industries.[52] According to the Council on Foreign Relations, "the TPP is the first U.S. trade deal to exempt antismoking measures from the lawsuits that investors may bring under the agreement."[52]


Economic impact[edit]

According to The New York Times, economists are sharply split over the positive and negative effects of TPP, and both "opponents and supporters of the trade accord have quickly seized upon whichever analysis buttressed their own views."[53] The U.S. International Trade Commission identifies the following US industries as net beneficiaries of TPP: Passenger cars; Apparel, Dairy production; Retailers and Wholesalers; and Business services; and as net losers: Auto parts; Textiles; Soybean production; Transportation and tourism; and Chemicals and drugs.[54][55]

An analysis by the World Bank found that if ratified by signatories, the TPP "agreement could raise GDP in member countries by an average of 1.1 percent by 2030. It could also increase member countries’ trade by 11 percent by 2030, and represent a boost to regional trade growth, which had slowed to about 5 percent, on average, during 2010-14 from about 10 percent during 1990-07."[56] The World Bank finds that the agreement will raise real wages in all signatories: "In the United States, for example, changes in real wages are expected to be small as unskilled and skilled wages increase by 0.4 and 0.6 percent, respectively, by 2030. In contrast, in Vietnam, TPP could increase the real wages of unskilled workers by more than 14 percent by 2030, as production intensive in unskilled labor (e.g. textiles) shifts to Vietnam."[56]

An analysis by the U.S. International Trade Commission, an independent, bipartisan, quasi-judicial, federal agency of the United States, estimates that "TPP would have positive effects, albeit small as a percentage of the overall size of the U.S. economy".[54] By 2032, U.S. annual real income would increase by 0.23%, real GDP would be $42.7 billion or 0.15% higher, employment would be 0.07% higher, US exports would increase 1%, and imports would increase 1.1%.[54] The report added, "TPP would generally establish trade-related disciplines that strengthen and harmonize regulations, increase certainty, and decrease trade costs for firms that trade and invest in the TPP region."[54] Vietnam is often seen as the biggest beneficiary of TPP.[57][58][59]

An analysis by economists Peter A. Petri and Michael G. Plummer of the Peterson Institute for International Economics projects that the TPP would increase incomes in the U.S. by $131 billion annually, or 0.5 percent of GDP. Exports from the U.S. would increase by $357 billion annually, or 9.1 percent, as a result of the agreement.[60] However, Tufts University economists argued that the research by Petri relied on unrealistic assumptions such as full employment: lost jobs will be immediately replaced in other industrial sectors.[61] According to Harvard economist Dani Rodrik, "Petri and Plummer assume that labor markets are sufficiently flexible that job losses in adversely affected parts of the economy are necessarily offset by job gains elsewhere. Unemployment is ruled out from the start – a built-in outcome of the model that TPP proponents often fudge."[62] Rodrik notes that "the Petri-Plummer model is squarely rooted in decades of academic trade modeling, which makes a sharp distinction between microeconomic effects (shaping resource allocation across sectors) and macroeconomic effects (related to overall levels of demand and employment). In this tradition, trade liberalization is a microeconomic “shock” that affects the composition of employment, but not its overall level."[62]

The Tufts researchers published a report of the TPP's economic effects, which said that the TPP would have a negative impact on employment[why?]: 450,000 US jobs, 75,000 Japanese jobs, 58,000 Canadian jobs and 5,000 New Zealand jobs would be lost by 2025.[61] According to the report, 771,000 jobs would be lost in total and positive economic effects would be negligible for participating countries.[61][63] Harvard economist Robert Z. Lawrence says that the model used by the Tufts researchers "is simply not suited for credibly predicting the effects of the TPP" and argues that the model used by Petri and Plummer is superior.[64] Lawrence argues that the model used by the Tufts researchers "does not have the granularity that allows it to estimate variables such as exports, imports, foreign direct investment, and changes in industrial structure. As a result, its predictions ignore the benefits to the TPP economies that occur through increased specialization, the realization of scale economies, and improved consumer choice."[64] Lawrence also notes that the model used by the Tufts researchers finds that the TPP will cause GDP to fall by 5.24% in non-TPP developing countries, such as China, India, and Indonesia, which Lawrence is highly skeptical of: "It is not believable that a trade agreement of this magnitude could cause the rest of the world to plummet into recession."[64] Harvard economist Dani Rodrik says that the Tufts researchers do "a poor job of explaining how their model works, and the particulars of their simulation are somewhat murky... the Capaldo framework lacks sectoral and country detail; its behavioral assumptions remain opaque; and its extreme Keynesian assumptions sit uneasily with its medium-term perspective."[62]

According to the Congressional Research Service, "The Tufts study has drawn particular criticism as an unconventional framework for analyzing trade agreements, whereas Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) models, such as that used in the Peterson study are standard in trade policy analysis."[45]

The effect of the TPP on employment (thousands, 2015-2025) according to the Tufts analysis[61]

In January 2016, the National Association of Manufacturers announced its support for TPP, saying "without such an agreement, the United States would be ceding economic leadership to other global powers, letting them set the rules of economic engagement in the region".[65]


TPP is likely to bring China's neighbours closer to the United States and reduce their dependence on Chinese trade.[66][58][57][67][59][68][69] If ratified, TPP strengthens American influence on future rules for the global economy.[66] TPP also increases the likelihood that Japan undertakes economic reforms to revive its economy, which coupled with potential South-Korean accession to the TPP, might have an economic impact on China.[66] By making the Chinese economy less competitive and Chinese leadership less likely to write the rules of trade in East and Southeast Asia, the Chinese regime will be under great internal and external pressure to liberalize its economy.[66] Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, believes that future Chinese accession to TPP would have a major pacifying impact on the Asia-Pacific region.[67]

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has claimed the passage of TPP to be as valuable to the United States as the creation of another aircraft carrier.[59] President Obama has argued "if we don’t pass this agreement — if America doesn’t write those rules — then countries like China will".[70] According to the Congressional Research Service, "many Asian policymakers—correctly or not—could interpret a failure of TPP in the United States as a symbol of declining U.S. interest in the region and inability to assert leadership... failure to conclude TPP could, in effect, allow China to shape regional rules of commerce and diplomacy through its own trade and investment initiatives, potentially creating regional rules and norms less beneficial for U.S. interests."[45] Michael J. Green and Matthew P. Goodman argue that "history will be unforgiving if TPP fails... If Congress rejects TPP, trying to negotiate a similar arrangement in Asia would reopen demands on the United States—and in the meantime, would likely give impetus to alternative arrangements like RCEP that exclude the United States. Momentum behind the U.S.-led international order would shift to momentum against it. Future generations of historians will take note of U.S. leadership at this moment."[59]

South Korea did not participate in TPP "largely out of a concern to maintain balance in its economic relations with China and the United States" but have shown greater interest in joining TPP after Japan, its biggest economic competitor, decided to participate.[59]

Since formal TPP negotiations began in 2010, China's attitude towards TPP has "swung from disdain to suspicion to cautious embrace... Conclusion of a TPP agreement in early October has sparked a lively debate in Beijing, with the weight of elite opinion seeming to tilt toward eventual membership; for example, the head of the Chinese-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Jin Liqun, announced his support during a speech in Washington shortly after the TPP deal was announced."[59]

TPP may give renewed impetus to trade negotiations among China, Japan, and Korea, and increase the likelihood of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which could provide a possible pathway to a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific.[59]

Domestic approval[edit]

The text of the agreement will have to be ratified, according to the national procedures of the countries concerned and the instrument of ratification is to be deposited with the Government of New Zealand, the depositary of the agreement.

On 5 October 2015 Canadian prime minister Harper indicated he expected "signatures on the finalized text and deal early in the new year, and ratification over the next two years."[13] On 4 February 2016, at the TPP signing, Canadian International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland said "There is a big difference between signing and ratifying". "Consultations in Canada very much will include aboriginal communities, they are a very important part of the national discussion," she said. "We are committed to a full parliamentary committee study and a full parliamentary debate ahead of ratification." [71]

United States[edit]

US House Vote on the Trade Promotion Authority Bill, 18 June 2015

As of 2013, the majority of United States free trade agreements were implemented as congressional-executive agreements.[72] Unlike treaties, such agreements require a majority of the House and Senate to pass.[72] Under trade promotion authority (TPA) , established by the Trade Act of 1974 and renewed by the Trade Act of 2002, Congress authorizes the President to negotiate "free trade agreements ... if they are approved by both houses in a bill enacted into public law and other statutory conditions are met."[72] This authority had expired (except for agreements already under negotiation) in 2007. In early 2012, the Obama administration indicated that a requirement for the conclusion of TPP negotiations was the renewal of TPA.[73] This required the United States Congress to introduce and vote on an administration-authored bill for implementing the TPP with minimal debate and no amendments, with the entire process taking no more than 90 days.[74]

In December 2013, 151 House Democrats signed a letter written by Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and George Miller (D-CA), which opposed the fast track trade promotion authority for the TPP. Several House Republicans opposed the measure on the grounds that it empowered the executive branch. In January 2014, House Democrats refused to put forward a co-sponsor for the legislation, hampering the bill's prospects for passage.[75]

On 16 April 2015, several U.S. Senators introduced "The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015", which is commonly known as TPA Fast-track legislation.[76] The bill passed the Senate on 21 May 2015, by a vote of 62 to 38, with 31 Democrats, five Republicans and both Independents opposing.[77][78] The bill went to the U.S. House of Representatives, which narrowly passed the bill 218-208, and also removed the Trade Adjustment Assistance portions of the Senate bill.[79] The TPA was passed by the Senate on 24 June 2015, without the TAA provisions, requiring only the signature of the President before becoming law.[80][81] President Obama expressed a desire to sign the TPA and TAA together,[82] and did sign both into law on 29 June, as the TAA was able to make its way through Congress in a separate bill.[83] The TPA law is known as the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015,[84] and the TAA law is known as the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015.[85]

The ultimate approval of this legislation conferred on the Obama administration "enhanced power to negotiate major trade agreements with Asia and Europe." Through the TPA, Obama could "submit trade deals to Congress for an expedited vote without amendments."[80] The successful conclusion of these bilateral talks was necessary before the other ten TPP members could complete the trade deal.[86]

The terms of the TPA stipulate that when a deal is formally submitted to Congress, they must act within 90 legislative days. According to Politico, many expect Congress to vote on the bill either during the Summer of 2016 or in the lame-duck session after the 2016 elections.[87]

Non-TPP party opinions[edit]

On 30 January 2015 Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, described the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership as "potentially important liberalising steps forward".[88]

The European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE), a think tank on European policies, predicted in 2012 that the TPP would be a "deadly threat to European exporters of agricultural products in TPP countries".[89]

ECIPE has said in 2014 that TPP "will be the first ‘competing’ economic integration that is large enough to have a considerable negative impact on Europe. In the long-term, the negative effects will come from dynamic impact, e.g. on investment, productivity and competitiveness".[90] Pascal Lamy called the TPP ‘the last of big old-style trade agreements’.[90]:2

Points of contention within the agreement[edit]

Causes of delays[edit]

Exposure by Wikileaks of the Intellectual Property Rights and Environmental chapters of the TPP revealed[when?] "just how far apart the US is from the other nations involved in the treaty, with 19 points of disagreement in the area of intellectual property alone. One of the documents speaks of 'great pressure' being applied by the US." Australia in particular opposes the US's proposals for copyright protection and an element supported by all other nations involved to "limit the liability of ISPs for copyright infringement by their users." Another sticking point lies with Japan's reluctance to open up its agricultural markets.[91]

Political difficulties, particularly those related to the passage of a Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) by the U.S. Congress, presented another hold on the TPP negotiations. Receiving TPA from Congress was looking especially difficult for Obama since members of his own Democratic Party are against it, while Republicans generally support the trade talks. "The TPP and TPA pose a chicken-and-egg situation for Washington. Congress needs to pass TPA to bring the TPP negotiations to fruition, but the Obama administration must win favorable terms in the TPP to pull TPA legislation through Congress. Simply put, the administration cannot make Congress happy, unless it can report on the excellent terms that it has coaxed out of Japan.".[92] Obama received Trade Promotion Authority on 29 June 2015.

Requests to include currency manipulation counter measures[edit]

A country can devalue its currency to boost exports and gain a trade advantage. One effect of the United States Quantitative Easing policy was the devaluation of the U.S. dollar, which aided economic growth in that country. Many economists claim that currency manipulation by Asian manufacturing countries has become pervasive, "allowing them to boost their exports at the expense of manufacturing companies in the United States and Europe." Furthermore, organisations such as the WTO or IMF cannot control such currency manipulation, so some are calling upon the U.S. to "use the free-trade talks to force an end to such actions." Senator Lindsey O. Graham and Representative Sander M. Levin "gathered a group of economists, manufacturing industry officials and labor leaders who agreed that the TPP should die unless it credibly prohibits countries from manipulating the value of their currency."[93]

United States–Japan bilateral accords (agriculture and auto)[edit]

Before Japan entered TPP negotiations in July 2013, reports indicated that it would allow the U.S. to continue imposing tariffs on Japanese vehicles, despite a "major premise of the TPP [being] to eliminate all tariffs in principle." According to the reports, Japan compromised on auto tariffs "because Tokyo wants to maintain tariffs on various agricultural products."[94]

By April 2015 U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman and Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari —representing the two largest economies of the 12-nation TPP—were involved in bilateral talks regarding agriculture and auto parts, the "two largest obstacles for Japan."[86] These bilateral accords which would open each other's "markets for products such as rice, pork and automobiles."[86] In Japan "rice, wheat, barley, beef, pork, dairy goods, sugar and starch crops are considered politically sensitive products that have to be protected."[86] During the two-day ministerial TPP negotiating session held in Singapore in May 2015, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and veteran negotiator, Wendy Cutler, and Oe Hiroshi of the Japanese Gaimusho held bilateral trade talks regarding one of the most contentious trade issues—automobiles. American negotiators wanted the Japanese to open their entire keiretsu structure which is the corner stone of Japanese economy and society to American automobiles. They wanted Japanese dealer networks, such as Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, and Mazda, to sell American cars.[95] Oe Hiroshi responded that there are fewer American car dealerships in Japan because Japanese consumers prefer European and Japanese cars to American cars.[95] Different vehicle safety program structures also complicate efforts at reciprocal recognition; in Japan and Europe, new vehicles are compliance-tested before they're allowed on the market. Under American laws, automakers self-certify their cars as compliant, and cars are tested only after they go on sale.[96] Nevertheless, as of November 2015 an agreement was released whereby Japan will recognize seven U.S. vehicle safety standards as no less stringent than Japanese national standards:[97] those for front and rear collision, flammability of interior materials, license plate lights, interior rearview mirror impact absorption, and windshield wiping, washing, and defogging systems.[98]

During the late July 2015 negotiations held in Maui, Hawaii, the U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman brokered an unanticipated North American–Japan side-deal with Japan, on behalf of the U.S., Canada and Mexico that "lowered the threshold" for how much of an automobile "would have to come from Trans-Pacific signatory countries" in order for it to avoid hefty tariffs when entering Canada, Mexico or the United States. This percentage dropped from 62.5 per cent under the current North American Free Trade Agreement, to somewhere between 30 per cent and 55 per cent under the July side deal.[99] Canada and Mexico are concerned that this unexpected side deal "could hit the NAFTA partners' auto sectors hard."[99]


In February 2016, UN's human rights expert Alfred de Zayas said that the TPP was fundamentally flawed and was based on an outdated model of trade pacts, and that governments should not sign or ratify the TPP.[100][101] According to de Zayas, the international human rights regime imposes, on countries, binding legal obligations, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and trade must be done under the human rights regime. Under the ISDS in the TPP, investors can sue a government, while a government cannot sue investors. De Zayas argued that this asymmetry made the system unfair. He added that international law, including accountability and transparency, must prevail over trade pacts.[100]

Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman, reported, "... I'll be undismayed and even a bit relieved if the T.P.P. just fades away", and said that "... there isn't a compelling case for this deal, from either a global or a national point of view." Krugman also noted the absence of "anything like a political consensus in favor, abroad or at home."[102]

Secrecy of negotiations[edit]

In 2012, critics such as Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, a consumer advocacy group, called for more open negotiations in regard to the agreement. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk responded that he believes the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) conducted "the most engaged and transparent process as we possibly could", but that "some measure of discretion and confidentiality" are needed "to preserve negotiating strength and to encourage our partners to be willing to put issues on the table they may not otherwise."[103] He dismissed the "tension" as natural and noted that when the Free Trade Area of the Americas drafts were released, negotiators were subsequently unable to reach a final agreement.[103]

On 23 May 2012, United States Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced S. 3225, which would have required the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to disclose its TPP documents to all members of Congress.[104] If it had passed, Wyden said that S3225 would clarify the intent of 2002 legislation. That legislation was supposed to increase Congressional access to information about USTR activity; however, according to Wyden, the bill is being incorrectly interpreted by the USTR as a justification to excessively limit such access.[105] Wyden said:

The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations—like Halliburton, Chevron, PHRMA, Comcast, and the Motion Picture Association of America—are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement. [...] More than two months after receiving the proper security credentials, my staff is still barred from viewing the details of the proposals that USTR is advancing. We hear that the process by which TPP is being negotiated has been a model of transparency. I disagree with that statement.[105]

In 2013, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) were among a group of congressional lawmakers who criticized the Obama administration's secrecy policies on the Trans-Pacific Pact.[106][107][108] Warren reiterated her opposition in a speech and press release, just days before a scheduled vote.[109]

A 2015 round of negotiations was scheduled for Vancouver, Canada, but two weeks before the commencement date, Ottawa was selected as the new meeting venue and inquiries from public interest groups about attending this round were ignored.[110]

In December 2014 Senator (I-VT) Bernie Sanders denounced the TPP:

Let’s be clear: the TPP is much more than a "free trade" agreement. It is part of a global race to the bottom to boost the profits of large corporations and Wall Street by outsourcing jobs; undercutting worker rights; dismantling labor, environmental, health, food safety and financial laws; and allowing corporations to challenge our laws in international tribunals rather than our own court system. If TPP was such a good deal for America, the administration should have the courage to show the American people exactly what is in this deal, instead of keeping the content of the TPP a secret.[111]

Michael R. Wessel, former commissioner on the U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission said in May 2015 that "cleared advisors" like himself were "prohibited from sharing publicly the criticisms we’ve lodged about specific proposals and approaches". He said that only portions of the text had been provided, "to be read under the watchful eye of a USTR official", that access on secure government-run website did not contain the most-up-to-date information, and that for cleared advisors to get that information, he had "to travel to certain government facilities and sign in to read the materials" and "even then, the administration determines what we can and cannot review and, often, they provide carefully edited summaries rather than the actual underlying text, which is critical to really understanding the consequences of the agreement."[112]

In June 2015, Senator (R-KY) Rand Paul opposed fast-tracking the TPP bill on the basis of secrecy. Paul explained that fast-tracking the secret trade partnership would "give the permission to do something you haven’t seen", which he likened to "[putting] the cart before the horse."[113]

Intellectual property[edit]

As of December 2011 some provisions relating to the enforcement of patents and copyrights alleged to be present in the US proposal for the agreement had been criticised as being excessively restrictive, beyond those in the Korea–US trade agreement and Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).[114][115]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation[115] was highly critical of the leaked draft chapter on intellectual property covering copyright, trademarks, and patents. In the US, they believed this was likely to further entrench controversial aspects of US copyright law (such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and restrict the ability of Congress to engage in domestic law reform to meet the evolving IP needs of American citizens and the innovative technology sector. Standardization of copyright provisions by other signatories would also require significant changes to other countries' copyright laws. These, according to EFF, include obligations for countries to expand copyright terms, restrict fair use, adopt criminal sanctions for copyright infringement that is done without a commercial motivation (ex. file sharing of copyrighted digital media), place greater liability on internet intermediaries, escalate protections for digital locks and create new threats for journalists and whistleblowers.[115]

Both the copyright term expansion and the non-complaint provision (i.e., competent authorities may initiate legal action without the need for a formal complaint) previously failed to pass in Japan because they were so controversial.[116] In early 2015 "A group of artists, archivists, academics, and activists ... in Japan [asked] their negotiators to oppose requirements in the TPP that would require their country, and five of the other 11 nations negotiating this secretive agreement, to expand their copyright terms to match the United States' already excessive length of copyright."[116] (The alleged "excessive length," life of the author plus 70 years in most cases, is in the final agreement.)

Ken Akamatsu, creator of Japanese manga series Love Hina and Mahou Sensei Negima!, expressed concern the agreement could decimate the derivative dōjinshi (self-published) works prevalent in Japan. Akamatsu argued that the TPP "would destroy derivative dōjinshi. And as a result, the power of the entire manga industry would also diminish."[117]

In May 2015, Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman expressed concern that the TPP would tighten the patent laws and allow corporations such as big pharmaceutical companies and Hollywood to gain advantages, in terms of increasing rewards, at the cost of consumers, and that people in developing countries would not be able to access the medicines under the TPP regime.[118] He also pointed out that the TPP would allow multinational corporations to sue national governments, and have cases where group of people who are privately elected can judge.[118]


In April 2015 the director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, Lori Wallach, said

"We consider it inappropriate to elevate an individual investor or company to equal status with a nation state to privately enforce a public treaty between two sovereign countries", ... "[ISDS] gives extraordinary new privileges and powers and rights to just one interest. Foreign investors are privileged vis-a-vis domestic companies, vis-a-vis the government of a country, [and] vis-a-vis other private sector interests",
"... the basic reality of ISDS: it provides foreign investors alone access to non-U.S. courts to pursue claims against the U.S. government on the basis of broader substantive rights than U.S. firms are afforded under U.S. law".[119]

On 5 October 2015 economists Joseph Stiglitz and Adam S. Hersh questioned the ISDS provisions of the TPP. "To be sure", they wrote, "investors—wherever they call home—deserve protection from expropriation or discriminatory regulations. But ISDS goes much further: The obligation to compensate investors for losses of expected profits can and has been applied even where rules are nondiscriminatory and profits are made from causing public harm. ... Imagine what would have happened if these provisions had been in place when the lethal effects of asbestos were discovered. Rather than shutting down manufacturers and forcing them to compensate those who had been harmed, under ISDS, governments would have had to pay the manufacturers not to kill their citizens. Taxpayers would have been hit twice—first to pay for the health damage caused by asbestos, and then to compensate manufacturers for their lost profits when the government stepped in to regulate a dangerous product.".[120] Stiglitz also claimed that the TPP would give oil companies the right to sue governments for loss of profits due to efforts to reduce carbon emissions and global warming.[121]

In November 2015, Columbia professor Jeffrey Sachs expressed concern that the ISDS-type system which the TPP proposes grants huge power to investors, and that the TPP damages the judicial systems of all the member countries, noting that ISDS has been already used by corporations to upset governments so as to weaken the regulations that have negative effects on their profits.[122] Pointing out what he believes are problems with the unnecessarily strong copyright protections and intellectual properties, the deficiencies in the standards of worker protections, the lack of social and environmental commitments in the TPP, he concluded that the US Congress must oppose the TPP.[122]

In February 2016, Lise Johnson and Lisa Sachs of the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment and Jeffrey Sachs of the Earth Institute said that the ISDS provision in the TPP was an expanded version of the ISDS in NAFTA, pointing out that more than 10 percent of foreign investors in the US could access ISDS under the TPP regime.[123] Under the ISDS mechanism, foreign corporations can sue a national government in international arbitration over a government's actions if the measures have a negative effect on their profits and economic interests. Various measures, including those for public health, national security, environment, food and drug, responses to economic crises, could be challenged by foreign corporations, regardless of whether the measures are for the public interest.[123]

According to Lori Wallach's interpretation of leaked documents in 2012, countries would be required to conform their domestic laws and regulations to the TPP Agreement, which includes provisions on government spending in certain areas[124] She argues that investor-state dispute settlement mechanism can be used to "attack domestic public interest laws".[124]

On 12 April 2016, former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Gord Miller argued that TPP's ISDS would allow foreign corporations to sue the Canadian government over environmental regulations that the government imposed, and if the corporations won their cases the government would be forced to pay compensations to the corporations from public coffers.[125]

Pointing out that Canada was sued multiple times under NAFTA's ISDS and had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation, Miller explained that paying such compensation was like a hidden tax imposed on Canadians by multinational corporations. Green Party of Canada argues that Canadians should not be taxed by corporations for regulations that protect Canadians and Canada's environment. Miller, who is the Green Party of Canada's Infrastructure & Community Development Critic, concluded that TPP should not be ratified.[125]

Cost of medicine[edit]

A June 2015 article in the New England Journal of Medicine summarized concerns about the TPP's impact on healthcare in both developed and less developed countries, including potentially increased prices of medical drugs due to patent extensions, which it claimed, could threaten millions of lives. Extending "data exclusivity" provisions would "prevent drug regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration from registering a generic version of a drug for a certain number of years." International tribunals that have been a part of the proposed agreement could theoretically require corporations be paid compensation for any lost profits found to result from a nation's regulations. That, in turn, might interfere with domestic health policy.[126] A number of United States Congressional members,[127] including Senator Bernard Sanders[128] and Representatives Sander M. Levin, John Conyers, Jim McDermott and the now-retired Henry Waxman, as well as [129] John Lewis, Charles B. Rangel, Earl Blumenauer, Lloyd Doggett and then-congressman Pete Stark,[130] expressed concerns about access to medicine. By protecting intellectual property in the form of the TPP mandating patent extensions, access by patients to affordable medicine in the developing world could be hindered, particularly in Vietnam.[127] Additionally, they worried that the TPP would not be flexible enough to accommodate existing non-discriminatory drug reimbursement programs and the diverse health systems of member countries.[130]

Opponents of the TPP in New Zealand said U.S. corporations were hoping to weaken the ability of its domestic agency Pharmac to get inexpensive, generic medicines by forcing it to otherwise pay considerably higher prices for brand name drugs.[131] Physicians and organizations, including Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, also expressed concern.[132]

The New Zealand Government denied the claims, Trade Negotiations Minister Tim Groser saying opponents of the deal are "trying to wreck this agreement".[133]

When a deal was reached in early October 2015, the U.S. and Australia had negotiated a compromise on the length of the monopoly period on next-generation biotech drugs down from twelve years requested by the U.S. to "a minimum period of 5 years and up to a minimum of 8 years."[134]

In Australia, critics of the investment protection regime argued that traditional investment treaty standards are incompatible with some public health regulations, meaning that the TPP will be used to force states to adopt lower standards, e.g.,  with respect to patented pharmaceuticals.[135] The Australian Public Health Association (PHAA) published a media release on 17 February 2014 that discussed the potential impact of the TPP on the health of Australia's population. A policy brief formulated through a collaboration between academics and non-government organizations (NGOs) was the basis of the media release, with the partnership continuing its Health Impact Assessment of the trade agreement at the time of the PHAA's statement. Michael Moore, the PHAA's CEO, said, "The brief highlights the ways in which some of the expected economic gains from the TPPA may be undermined by poor health outcomes, and the economic costs associated with these poor health outcomes."[136]

In February 2015, former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich stated he opposed the TPP because it would delay cheaper generic versions of drugs and because of its provisions for international tribunals that can require corporations be paid "compensation for any lost profits found to result from a nation's regulations."[137]

When the full-text of the TPP was officially released on 5 November 2015, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, expressed that they were "extremely concerned about the inclusion of dangerous provisions that would dismantle public health safeguards enshrined in international law and restrict access to price-lowering generic medicines for millions of people."[138][139] MSF's advisor, Judit Rius Sanjuan, cautioned that,[138]

"MSF remains gravely concerned about the effects that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal will have on access to affordable medicines for millions of people, if it is enacted. Today’s official release of the agreed TPP text confirms that the deal will further delay price-lowering generic competition by extending and strengthening monopoly market protections for pharmaceutical companies."

— Doctors Without Borders November 5, 2015

India's laws concerning drug patents allow it to develop generic drugs. Despite India not being a signatory to the TPP, the provisions in the TPP concerning generic drugs seem to be directly targeting India's pharmaceutical industry, according to Amy Kapczynski, faculty director of the Global Health Justice Partnership at Yale University.[126]

Income inequality[edit]

In 2013, Nobel Memorial prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz warned that based on leaked drafts of the TPP, it presented "grave risks" and "serves the interests of the wealthiest."[106][140] Organised labour in the U.S. argued that the trade deal would largely benefit corporations at the expense of workers in the manufacturing and service industries.[141] The Economic Policy Institute and the Center for Economic and Policy Research argued that the TPP could result in further job losses and declining wages.[142][143]

In 2014, Noam Chomsky warned that the TPP is "designed to carry forward the neoliberal project to maximise profit and domination, and to set the working people in the world in competition with one another so as to lower wages to increase insecurity."[144] Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who opposes fast track, stated that trade agreements like the TPP "have ended up devastating working families and enriching large corporations."[145] Economist Robert Reich contends that the TPP is a "Trojan horse in a global race to the bottom, giving big corporations and Wall Street banks a way to eliminate any and all laws and regulations that get in the way of their profits."[146][147]

After the announcement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on 25 September 2015 and the finalisation of the TPP a week later, critics have discussed the interactions between the SDGs and the TPP. While one critic sees the TPP as providing a mixed bag of benefits and drawbacks to the SDGs,[148] another regards the TPP as being incompatible with the SDGs, highlighting that if the development provisions clash with any other aspect of the TPP, the other aspect takes priority.[149] The Friends of the Earth have spoken out against the TPP.[150][151]

Economists Peter A. Petri and Michael G. Plummer challenge the view that TPP will primarily benefit the wealthy. Their analysis finds that "the gains from TPP appear to be fairly distributed—labour will gain relative to capital, and cost reductions will favour low-income households. Some workers will need to change jobs, but they constitute a small fraction of normal job churn in any given year, and the national benefits argue for generous compensation for their adjustment costs. The agreement will also benefit workers in TPP’s poorest member countries."[152] Research by Harvard economist Robert Z. Lawrence finds that the "percentage gains for labor income from the TPP will be slightly greater than the gains to capital income. Households in all quintiles will benefit by similar percentages, but once differences in spending shares are taken into account, the percentage gains to poor and middle-class households will be slightly larger than the gains to households at the top."[153][154] An opinion piece by Ed Gerwin in the Wall Street Journal argues that the TPP agreement benefits small businesses in the US.[44]

Economists David Autor, David Dorn and Gordon H. Hanson, who have extensively studied US labor markets adjustments to trade competition shocks caused by China,[155] support TPP.[156] They argue that TPP "would promote trade in knowledge-intensive services in which U.S. companies exert a strong comparative advantage", note that "killing the TPP would do little to bring factory work back to America" and argue that it would pressure China to raise regulatory rules and standards to those of TPP members.[156]


In 2013, Sierra Club's director of responsible trade, Ilana Solomon, argued that the TPP "could directly threaten our climate and our environment [including] new rights that would be given to corporations, and new constraints on the fossil fuel industry all have a huge impact on our climate, water, and land."[157] Upon the publication of a complete draft of the Environment Chapter and the corresponding Chairs' Report by Wikileaks in January 2014, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Wide Fund for Nature joined with the Sierra Club in criticizing the TPP. WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange described the Environment Chapter as "a toothless public relations exercise with no enforcement mechanism."[158][159]

In January 2014, The Washington Post's editorial board opined that congressional sponsors of legislation to expedite approval of the TPP in the U.S. already included provisions to ensure that all TPP countries meet international labour and environmental standards, and that the U.S. "has been made more productive by broader international competition and more secure by broader international prosperity".[160]

The Venezuelan-backed TeleSUR reported that, when a deal was struck on 5 October 2015, various environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, NRDC, Greenpeace,, and Food & Water Watch raised warnings against the deal.[161]

However, the White House has a website with supportive statements from the World Wildlife Fund, the Nature Conservancy, the Humane Society, and other environmental groups in favor of the TPP.[162]

Labour standards[edit]

In January 2016, Human Rights Watch said that the TPP side agreements with Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei "are a unique and significant step in efforts to protect labor rights in trade agreements" but noted that enforcement of these rules remains to be seen: "gauging compliance will require subjective assessments by the US that may take years to carry out and face obstacles arising from foreign policy objectives, commercial interests, and other political considerations."[163]

In May 2015, U.S. politician Sander Levin said that Vietnam has not enforced compliance with basic international labour standards: for example if a worker tries to form an independent union in Vietnam, the worker can be jailed. He said that, even if countries change their laws, it is difficult to enforce trade deals. He added that there is no evidence that the Southeast Asian country is going to meet the international labour standards.[164]

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren strongly opposes the TPP, issuing a staff report on the agreement. The report says that there is a huge gap between the promises that past US free trade agreements contained and the actual enforcement of their labour provisions.[164]

Non-compete clause[edit]

Dean Baker argued that Article 18.78, under which countries should ensure that they protect trade secrets and impose criminal procedures for violators, could be used to enforce non-compete agreements, and that big tech companies were happy if they could prevent workers from joining their rivals or starting their own company. Pointing out that California's success was attributed to the fact that the state did not allow for the enforcement of non-compete agreements (and that in California it was easy for tech workers to quit their jobs and start to work for another company), and that Michigan enforced non-compete agreements, Baker wrote that the connection between Silicon Valley and Detroit came in Article 18.78.[165]


A protest in Wellington, New Zealand in November 2014
"Stop Fast Track" rally in Washington D.C., April 2015
Protesters of the 4 February signing at SkyCity Events Centre in Auckland, New Zealand.

A number of global health professionals, internet freedom activists, environmentalists, trade unions, advocacy groups, and elected officials have criticized and protested against the treaty, in large part because of the secrecy of negotiations, the agreement's expansive scope, and controversial clauses in drafts leaked to the public.[106][166][167][168][169]

On 5 March 2012, a group of TPP protesters disrupted an outside broadcast of 7News Melbourne's 6 pm bulletin at Melbourne, Australia's Federation Square venue.[170] In New Zealand, the "It's Our Future" protest group was formed[171] with the aim of raising public awareness prior to the Auckland round of negotiations, which was held from 3 to 12 December 2012.[172] During the Auckland negotiations, hundreds of protesters clashed with police outside the conference venue and lit a fire in the streets.[173]

A poll conducted in December 2012 showed 64 percent of New Zealanders thought trade agreements, such as the TPP, which allow corporations to sue governments, should be rejected.[174]

In March 2013, four thousand Japanese farmers held a protest in Tokyo over the potential for cheap imports to severely damage the local agricultural industry.[175]

On 21 February 2014, Malaysian protesters dressed as zombies outside a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur to protest the impact of the TPP on the price of medicines, including treatment drugs for HIV. The protest group consisted of students, members of the Malaysian AIDS Council and HIV-positive patients—one patient explained that, in Malaysian ringgit, he spent between RM500 and RM600 each month on treatment drugs, but this cost would increase to around RM3,000.[176]

On 29 March 2014, 15 anti-TPP protests occurred across New Zealand, including a demonstration in Auckland attended by several thousand people.[177] The New Zealand Nurses Association was particularly concerned that the TPP could prevent government decisions that could benefit public health.[178] On 8 November 2014, further protests occurred in 17 New Zealand cities, with turnouts in the thousands.[179][180]

In January 2015, various petitions and public protests occurred in the U.S. from progressives.[181] On 27 January 2015, protesters hijacked a US Senate hearing to speak out against the TPP and were promptly removed by capitol police officers.[182]

On 15 August 2015, protests were held across New Zealand in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, as well as several smaller cities. An activist claimed that over 25,000 people collectively protested against the TPP free trade deal throughout the country.[183] The protests were peaceful; however, police were forced to protect the steps of the Parliament building in the capital of Wellington, after an estimated 2000 people marched to the entrance.[184][185][186]

On 15 September 2015, an estimated 50 protesters blocked a lane of Lambton Quay in the central business district of Wellington, New Zealand. It was reported that up to 30 people were arrested after forming a block on the road, and were taken away in police vans. The group was attempting to enter the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade headquarters, in attempt to seize documents related to the TPPA. They criticized the secrecy surrounding the negotiations, chanting "democracy not secrecy".[187] They were stopped by a police barricade, which later extended to a lock down of the road.[183]

On 23 January 2016, two protests against TPP occurred at Dataran Merdeka and Padang Merbok in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man estimated the crowd to be about 25,000 people at Padang Merbok alone. However, Malaysiakini estimated the number for both Padang Merbok and Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur city centre at 5,000 maximum and called the protest a "dud".[188]

On 30 January 2016, in Wellington, thousands of people joined anti-TPP rallies, and about five hundred people presented a petition calling for a binding referendum on the TPP before New Zealand's government ratifies the TPP.[189]

On 4 February 2016, trade ministers from the twelve negotiating countries met at the SkyCity Events Centre in Auckland, New Zealand.[190] Between 2,000 and 15,000 protesters were estimated to have marched down Queen Street at midday, including additional rallies in Aotea Square and outside of SkyCity.[191][192] Groups of protesters blocked central city intersections and motorway ramps during the day, including an incident where 100 protesters ran onto a section of the central city motorway.[190][191] Protesters in Auckland were joined by the annual Waitangi Day hikoi,[193] and an additional 250 people protested at the Wellington Cenotaph outside of parliament in Wellington.[191]

In early April 2016, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio joined an anti-TPP rally, and explained why he stood up and fought against the TPP.[194] As de Blasio noted, NAFTA was a disastrous trade pact: under NAFTA, about one million US jobs and tens of thousands of New York jobs were lost, and the decent standard of living for the US middle class was eroded. He argued that the TPP would damage US as NAFTA did, suggesting that the TPP would worsen US's income inequality.[194]

In April 2016, more than twenty lawmakers in Washington agreed that the US Congress should oppose the TPP. The lawmakers expressed concern that the TPP would have negative impacts on various things: availability of life saving drugs, protections of the environment and natural resources, jobs, labor standards and human rights. They sent a letter to Washington State Members of Congress, urging them to reject the TPP.[195][196]

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External links[edit]