Trans-Pacific Trade Deal Remains in Limbo

In April this year, eight former U.S. Defense Secretaries jointly signed a letter to Congress. That letter did not ask for a change in military spending or comment on a new weapons system, but instead, it urged Congress to consider a matter of trade. In particular, the signatories focused on one trade deal, which they claimed would either “link the United States with one of the world’s most vibrant and dynamic regions” or, if left unratified, leave Asian economies to “develop along a China-centric model.”

This deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is one of the largest free trade agreements ever conceived. Its finalization in New Zealand on February 4th, promised to reduce trade barriers between 12 Pacific nations, which collectively represent 40 percent of the world economy. However, the deal’s provisions must be ratified by each country, and in an era where the unequal distribution of globalization’s wealth has undermined public trust in the spirit of trade liberalization, the prospects for U.S. ratification look dim.

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