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The Proposed Pacific Partnership

The Proposed Pacific Partnership

Abstract

This paper commences with an introduction that explores the history of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. From the introduction, it can be confirmed that the TPP is still under negotiation regarding a variety of laws and policies. TPP commenced as a trade bloc, which involved three countries of Chile, New Zealand and Singapore before Brunei joined as the fourth member. The trade bloc was initially known as the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement. The paper also explores the member states that form the TPP. Currently, it is asserted that TPP comprises of 11 members. Other countries have been welcomed to join the trade bloc, but they operate as observers. The paper explores controversies associated with TPP and discusses various controversies. These include the secret negotiation of matters that concern the well been of the whole world. This is the major issue related to the TPP and human rights groups have been on the forefront to ensure that the negotiations do not proceed in secrecy. President Obama was forwarded a letter in regards to this matter. The second problem related to the TPP concerns the enactment of laws that limit the rights of individuals and sovereign states in regards to intellectual property. Some of the points discussed under this issue include the fact that it will be a crime to duplicate a copyright without the authority of the owner. Globalization is another topic explored in the paper as a controversy involving TPP. It is asserted that the laws passed by the TPP only factor the wellness of a few individuals and corporations and going against environmental ethics. The paper explores reasons why people should be concerned with TPP and how it affects them and the world. This is followed by a conclusion that avails a recap of what was discussed in the paper.

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The Proposed Pacific Partnership

The proposed Pacific Partnership has been facilitated by The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, which was established in 2005. The TPSEP, also known as the P4, was a trade agreement involving four countries, which are Singapore, New Zealand, Brunei and Chile. This agreement was intended to liberalize the Asian-Pacific economies. However, from 2010, other countries took cue and joined in the talks for the formation of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The proposal to form the TPP was motivated by the need of coming up with an expanded version of TPSEP. Notably, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is considered as a trade agreement proposal that is under negotiation. Significant developments have taken place up to date because several countries have joined the discussion. Currently, the talks have 12 countries that include Vietnam, Australia, Singapore, Canada, Brunei, Mexico, Japan, Peru, the United States, Malaysia, Chile and New Zealand. Research indicates that this proposed partnership of trade aims at dealing with emerging trade issues of the 21st century. However, it should be noted that not all people advocate for the formation of the proposed TPP. Various reasons have been advanced in support and refuting the continuing talks amongst the countries. The public, elected officials and advocacy groups are on the forefront in criticizing the continuing talks related to TPP. They cite a lot of secrecy with the continuing talks and controversial clauses in drafts that have leaked to the public. This essay explores the proposed Pacific Partnership.

According to Electronic Frontier Foundation (2013), the proposed Pacific Partnership abounds as a secretive, multinational trade agreement, which threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property laws worldwide. Additionally, TPP intends to rewrite international rules when it is formed. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (2013) notes that the problem associated with the agreement are twofold. This abounds from the fact that the agreement lacks transparency, since it has shut out the participation of multi-stakeholders because it is shrouded in secrecy. The second problem abounds from the fact that the agreements IP chapter will result in negative consequences for user’s ability to innovate, freedom of speech and the right to privacy and due process.

Membership

The TPSEP initially comprised of only three countries that include New Zealand, Singapore and Chile. They were later joined by Brunei. Research indicates that the initial agreement of the TPSEP had an accession clause, which affirmed members commitment to motivate other countries to join this agreement. The first member to access to the P4 includes the United States. This move was done in 2009, when the US consented to join the talks. The talk was then focused on liberalization of financial services and trade. Other countries also indicated their willingness to join the P4 trade bloc as from 2008. These included Vietnam, Peru and Australia. Malaysia followed suite and announced its partnership with the P4 as a member. Mexico and Canada were the next entrants into the trade bloc. Research asserts that Mexico was motivated to join the trade bloc because TPP had mentioned Mexico’s customs policies in their talks. Joining of the trade bloc is not as easy as it seems. This abounds from the fact that the members of the trade bloc have infighting politics. For instance, researching opines that Canada had expressed its interest to join the TPP two years earlier. However, they could not proceed with the intention because New Zealand and the United States were against the move. Research further indicates that this move was motivated by concerns regarding Canada’s agricultural policies. The campaign against Canada joining TPP was not received well by the country’s media and several pro-business. They cited it as a missed opportunity. Pro-business Diana Kuzmanovic and Wendy Dobson expressed their opinion regarding the move to block Canada from joining TPP, and they claimed the economic necessity associated with TPP to Canada. This led to many consultations that ensued Canada’s membership in the trade bloc in 2012. This move was arrived at after consultations that involved nine other member states.

Members

Japan abounds as one potential members since it has been serving as an observer for the past three years. This role was commenced in 2010, which led to the invitation to join the negotiations in April of this year. It is indicated that Japan’s membership was pushed by the country’s prime minister christened Shinzo Abe. South Korea is also earmarked to join the trade bloc, which was facilitated by the United States. The United States invited South Korea to join the TPP negotiating rounds after it managed to successfully complete the formation of a bilateral trade agreement with the US. It should be noted that South Korea had indicated its interest to join the trade bloc in 2010. Research purports

that the entry of South Korea is delayed due to the need to negotiate further on matters regarding agriculture and the vehicle industry. South Korea has bilateral trade agreements with some of the TPP members.

Research by Schott (2013) confirms that other countries have also expressed their interest to join TPP. These countries include India, Laos, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Colombia, Costa Rica and Indonesia. China was initially opposed to the trade bloc, but currently, it has also expressed its interest to join TPP. Thailand is the latest member to express its interest in joining the TPP. This announcement was made when Barack Obama had toured the country.

Controversy Associated with the Trade Bloc

The first controversy associated with TPP concerns the rewriting of global rules regarding intellectual property enforcement. This enforcement proposes that all member countries should change their local policies and laws to the requirements stipulated in the agreement. According to Electronic Frontier Foundation (2013), if this move is taken, there is a likelihood that some controversial aspect of the copyright law of the United States, including the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, will be further entrenched. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (2013) confirms that if the move is taken, it will limit the Congress ability to participate in local law reform, which is a requirement given the evolving innovative technology sector and IP preferences of the Americans. Thorough research on this topic reveals that some provisions of the agreement by the United States regarding the IP chapter reveals that the provisions have gone beyond the contemporary law of the coutry. Electronic Frontier Foundation (2013) confirms that the leaked US version of the proposed IP chapter is more restrictive. A controversy associated with the US IP chapter involves the regulation of temporary copies. The US IP chapter states that it will be a copyright infringement if a person reproduces a work that has copyright without the consent of the copyright owner. Another controversy associated with the US IP chapter concerns the placement of significant obligations on internet providers. From the US IP chapter, it is established that the US has intentions of forcing the adoption of its DMCA Internet intermediaries copyright safe harbor regime. This move is wrong, since it is established that it will force some countries to rewrite their copyright laws. The US IP chapter also reveals the possibility of expanding copyright terms. This will be done through extending the term of copyright protections. Research establishes that the term will be extended from 50 years to 70 years.

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Another principal controversy associated with the TPP includes negotiation secrecy. Research indicates that organizations focused on scientific integrity and openness advised President Obama via a letter to increase the transparency of of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiation process. The organizations cited the fact that public access to the information is very imperative because it indicates that the compact has the possibility of limiting public protections. Particularly, the organizations against the secrecy of the TPP indicated that the negotiations can establish policies that will be bounding to the U.S Congress and state legislatures in the future regarding non-trade subjects.

Another controversy associated with the TPP includes its globalization policy. This is an issue that has been raised by anti-globalization advocates, who indicate that the TPP has gone beyond the realm of trade promotion and tariff reduction. Additionally, the TPP is accused of infringing upon labor, consumer and environmental interests. Some scholars on the TPP indicate that it has enshrined new privileges and rights for major corporations while at same time dealing away with the powers of nation states to oppose them.

Thus, it is essential for people to care about TPP negotiations because it has a lot to do with citizen’s freedom of expression, innovation and the due process. It also has a lot to do with the future of the global Internet infrastructure and the right of countries to enact laws and policies that suit their domesic strategies. According to Electronic Frontier Foundation (2013), TPP places risk on myraid fundamentral rights that facilitate the access to knowledge for the people worldwide. Additionally, people need to care about TPP because the US Trade Rep seeks a TPP agreement, which will force signatory countries to adopt increased copyright protection. This move has been criticized because the policies to be adoped advance the agenda of the United States pharmaceutical and entertainment industries. It should be noted that this policy omits the exceptions and flexibilities that protect technology innovators and Internet users. Additionally, research indicates that the effects of the TPP will be extensive beyond the 11 countries that are currently involved in negotiation. This abounds from the fact that a heightened global IP enforcement norms will be adopted. Additionally, the United States has set conditions for countries seeking to accede to the TPP. Many countries that have acceded so far have been forced to adopt bilateral trade agreements with the United States.

Various questions abound regarding whether the TPP is beneficial or not. According to a group known as Campaign for America’s Future, the TPP is indicated as having a detrimental effect on workers. It is advanced that many workers will lose while economies will gain, which is considered as a “rounding error”. It is further asserted by the organization that the TPP will lead to a further offshoring of milions of jobs, placing the consumer and economies at risk and weakening of regulations that govern banks and other host businesses. It is particularly pointed out that the TPP will hamstring the US ability to use its dollars from taxes in supporting businesses in the country and boosting of new industries. It is further alleged that the TPP is focused on ensuring that those with top incomes benefit more through the ways, in which the TPP will promote the profit maximization of multinational corporations at the expense of environment and the workers. Thus, it is evident that people around the globe do not consent with how the TPP negotiations are carried out, because there have been protests regarding the same. It is also indicated that the upcoming TPP negotiations will draw much criticism from people, as protests have been organized for the upcoming negotiations.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it has been established that the TPP has a long history. This abounds from the fact that it first commenced as a trade bloc comprising of only three countries before Brunei joined the group as a member. Currently, many other countries have joined the trade bloc either as negotiators or observers. There has been controversy regarding some member states joining the trade bloc and this is principally blamed on the United States for blocking the entrance of new members. For instance, Canada did not have an easy time joining the bloc because the US had brought up issues regarding some of its domestic policies. Additionally, the United States is accused of forcing countries that want to join the bloc to consent to some bilateral trade agreements with the US before they are allowed to join. Some countries also are recognized by the bloc, but they are accepted only as observers. Research indicates that there are countries, which are potential members. This means that these countries have expressed their interest in joining the bloc and are awaiting consent from the member states. However, myriad controversies face the trade bloc. This abounds from the fact that negotiations are done in secrecy and the public is not allowed to have access to the information discussed in the negotiations. Another controversy surrounding the TPP negotiations include the rewritng of global rules regarding IP. This is noted as a critical factor because it will affect many parties including businesses, people and countries. Lastly, it is advised that people should be concerned with the TPP negotiations because it deals with the freedom of human beings, the future of the US Congress and the freedom of sovereign states in enacting laws and policies that are in tandem with their domestic regulations.