Publication Type

Implications of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for the World Trading System

Policy Briefs 16-8


The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), signed in February 2016 between the United States and 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific, is the most comprehensive trade deal ever negotiated between developed and developing countries. To be sure, the TPP is not yet ratified and US implementing legislation in particular faces significant resistance. Despite strong protectionist undercurrents in the US political debate, however, the TPP merits congressional approval because of its impetus to trade and economic growth, its innovative rules governing areas such as digital trade, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and environmental policies, and its positive impact on strategic relations with important US allies. This Policy Brief assesses how the TPP is likely to shape bilateral and regional trade initiatives in the Asia-Pacific and set precedents for new multilateral trade initiatives. Given the large economic footprint of TPP countries, the TPP will affect the economies of both participating and nonparticipating countries alike and influence the trade talks in the Asia-Pacific region in which they are engaged. TPP precedents also could contribute to the revival of multilateral trade negotiations in the World Trade Organization.