With just two months until the next (16th) round of negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) begin in Singapore, supporters of the inaptly named “free trade agreement” are ratcheting up the number of reports favorably promoting formation of the regional trade bloc.
In an article published by World Politics Review, for example, Edward Alden writes that the Obama administration’s acceptance and acceleration of the TPP is the “biggest swerve” away from a global Great Depression.
The global financial crisis of 2008 and the recession that followed produced the first steep decline in world trade since the Great Depression. Yet rather than falling down, the United States and other countries have managed to swerve and keep going.
The biggest swerve was the embrace of regional trade liberalization, starting with Asia.
Identifying the TPP as the president’s “top trade priority,” Alden suggests that the “embrace of regional trade liberalization” will keep the United States from falling down the steep decline toward economic devastation.
Then, for those unfamiliar with the hows and whys of the TPP, the Peterson Institute for International Economics has published a monograph by Jeffrey J. Schott, Barbara Kotschwar, and Julia Muir aimed at unraveling this complicated trade deal by “providing a reader's guide to the TPP initiative.”
To help readers realize the benefits of the creation of the TPP, the authors begin by explaining “how much the TPP countries are alike and like-minded in their pursuit of a comprehensive trade deal.”
How alike are the countries? One means of comparison shows an otherwise uncrossable chasm between several of the TPP member states.
Below are the gross domestic products (GDP) and world rankings for 2011 as reported by the International Monetary Fund of the 11 countries currently participating in the TPP:
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