A new report released this week by the non-partisan think tank Atlantic Council contends that the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has the potential to catapult the United States, Latin American partners, and Asia-Pacific countries into a new era of geopolitical cooperation and commercial growth.
The status quo is not an option for ensuring continued economic growth in the United States, and other TPP member countries in a fast-changing global economy, the report says. The failure of TPP would bear serious economic and strategic consequences for the United States and Latin America, it maintains.
Bridging the Pacific: The Americas’ New Economic Frontier?, written by Atlantic Council consultant Peter Rashish, proposes nine concrete steps to promote the Asia-Pacific trade agenda and ensure the United States, and its fastest-growing trade partner, Latin America, benefit from an ambitious TPP agreement. Among them:
- President Obama should publicly champion his international trade agenda and engage with Capitol Hill to explain the merits of an Asia-Pacific agreement.
- TPP countries should advocate forcefully to ensure the agreement improves and streamlines the confusing current collection of overlapping bilateral deals.
- Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, and others in Latin America who wish to join TPP should be welcomed into the talks to create more geographical balance.
- The TPP negotiating process should be made more transparent without sacrificing confidentiality, and its goals should be communicated more clearly and effectively to the public.
“The outcome of the ongoing TPP negotiations is potentially dynamic, but crucially dependent on U.S. leadership to conclude robust talks that have the support of the U.S. public,” says Rashish. “If policymakers take clear and concrete steps to negotiate an ambitious agreement and explain its benefits, the U.S. will expand its leadership role and use TPP as a vehicle for defending high levels of consumer, health, and environmental protections and standards.”
Note: Skip ahead to 21:00 in the video for the start of the discussion.