Author: Brock R. Williams
The United States and Japan are among the 12 parties to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement (FTA). The agreement would reduce and eliminate tariffs and non-tariff barriers (NTBs) on goods, services, and agricultural products. It would also establish trade rules and disciplines that expand on commitments at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and address new ?21st century? issues, such as digital trade and state-owned enterprises. Signed in February 2016, the TPP now awaits ratification in each country before it can enter into force. For the United States and Japan, ratification entails action by the U.S. Congress and the Japanese Diet (parliament). The Diet is expected to consider the TPP in the fall of 2016. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promoted the TPP, and his ruling coalition has a large majority in the Diet. Observers widely expect that the Diet will pass TPP. The timeline for possible U.S. congressional consideration of TPP remains uncertain, but many observers agree that it is unlikely before the November elections.