MJIEL Vol 11 Issue 1 2014 - Article 1

Trans-Pacific Partnership or Trampling Poor Partners?
A Tentative Critical Review
Raj Bhala

ABSTRACT: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could be the most economically and politically significant free trade agreement (FTA) in the Asia-Pacific region. Conceived in 2006 by just four small countries, it now embraces 12 that account for 40 percent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It looks to be a 21st century accord in terms of the breadth and depth of trade barriers it identifies and disciplines.
But, with plenty of likely exceptions, TPP appears to fall short of a ‘free’ trade accord in the Neo-Classical Economic sense. It seems to manage trade in sensitive sectors. Worse yet, negotiated in an almost shamefully non-transparent manner, TPP may well advance an American corporate agenda, with insufficient regard to the most pressing matter in the Asia-Pacific region: poverty alleviation.

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