After fierce resistance from Australia and several Asian countries, the United States is again making an aggressive move to get the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) approved in all member states.
American Secretary of State John Kerry has flown to Singapore, where he will meet with several Asian dignitaries to hammer out a deal on the TPP. A few sticking points, such as Americans’ insistence on strict regulations of patented prescription drugs, have caused other states to balk at the agreement, with Australia making the loudest protests over the lack of free trade agreements within the agreement.
The treaty involves the largest North American economies and several smaller developing Asian countries, as well as Australia, as potential members. Most notably is the exclusion of China from the agreement, although neighbors such as Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan are all negotiating in the agreement.
Kerry has admitted in a press conference that the deal is facing stumbling blocks, but at the same time told reporters that its completion would be a major economic milestone and an essential move in safeguarding U.S. interests in the world’s fastest growing economic area.
While many economists support the agreement, several politicians have criticized the secretive nature of the policy, and have pointed out that there have been few studies done of how much it would benefit American workers, with the precedent of NAFTA indicating that it could be less beneficial for low-skilled workers than many economists expect.