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TPP excites interest among more countries

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is gaining ground with at least five more countries planning to join the trade pact. At present there are 12 TPP members including Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the United States and Vietnam.

Countries that have at various times indicated interest in joining TPP are South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Colombia, Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia, Bangladesh and India. The Trans-Pacific Partnership would affect 40 per cent of the world economy. It’s expected to cut red tape globally and set the rules for the 21st century for trade.

The deal could reshape industries and influence everything from the price of cheese to the cost of cancer treatments. It is seen as a challenge to China’s growing dominance in the Pacific region. It sets tariff reduction schedules on hundreds of imported items from pork and beef in Japan to pickup trucks in the United States.

The deal sets minimum standards on issues ranging from workers’ rights to environmental protection. It also sets up dispute settlement guidelines between governments and foreign investors separate from national courts. It would give Japan’s automakers a freer hand to buy parts from Asia for vehicles sold in the United States.