Author: Charles H. Brower II*
Published: October 2016
In October 2015, the United States completed negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”), a free trade agreement among twelve Pacific Rim states. According to the White House, TPP will “rewrite the rules of trade,” will include “high standards . . . that . . . upgrade our existing agreements,” and will “have a profound impact on . . . how we invest in the developing world.” By contrast, the leading presidential candidates from both parties offer distinctly negative assessments of TPP. Hillary Clinton has opined that TPP does not meet the “very high” bar she would set for producing new jobs, increasing wages, and protecting national security.3 To the contrary, she has emphasized the “risk” that such trade agreements “will end up doing more harm than good for hardworking
American families.” Even more emphatically, Donald Trump has declared TPP to be a “horrible deal” that would “lead to nothing but trouble,” and was “designed for China to . . . take advantage of everyone.”5 Thus, while
differing substantially in tone and orientation, statements from the White House and the campaign trail seem to coincide on the point that TPP marks a significant turn in the course of U.S. trade and investment policy.
*Professor of Law, Wayne State University; Of Counsel, Miller Canfield; Vice-Chair, Institute for Transnational Arbitration; Winner of the Smit-Lowenfeld Prize (2012).