WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2016 – A new report says that while all member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership stand to benefit from the trade agreement, the U.S. has the most to gain.
The report from the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) says the agreement will increase “annual real incomes” in the U.S. by $131 billion by 2030. Global figures for that same time frame show an increase of about $492 billion with sizable gains also projected for Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam.
The report says the TPP agreement, which was completed last October after years of negotiations, “appears to have met its two most important negotiating objectives,” benefiting member countries economically and developing rules for economic integration. However, the report also notes that the agreement “reflects inevitable compromises” among the 12 Pacific Rim countries at the negotiating table.
Founded in 1981, the PIIE is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group dedicated to the study of international policy. Since its founding, the group has weighed in on variety of issues ranging from necessary reforms of the International Monetary Fund to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Agriculturally speaking, the report notes that exports will “rise more than imports” in “primary” goods, a classification that includes agricultural products. However, it points out that export gains among primary goods will be smaller “because this sector is small in the first place and because its products are often exported in processed form as food, beverages, chemicals, and other raw-materials based products.
“Given the scope and complexity of topics addressed, the diversity of the negotiating parties, and the backdrop of inaction on urgent trade issues, the TPP is a notable accomplishment,” the report concluded. “It is a substantial positive response to slowing world trade growth and rising trade barriers, and a major contribution toward a rules-based global economy.”
Chris Wyant, the executive director of the Progressive Coalition for American Jobs, said the study “makes clear” that “the TPP is the most progressive trade agreement in history and contains benefits for American agricultural and manufacturing exports while supporting thousands of higher-paying, middle-class jobs."
Opponents of the deal, who range from the most liberal of Democrats to the most conservative of Republicans, say TPP will only serve to create a more sizable trade deficit by offering smoother access to U.S. markets for foreign competitors. The National Farmers Union and Roger Johnson, the group’s president, have led agricultural opposition to the agreement. Earlier this month, his written testimony to the U.S. International Trade Commission said the deal comes up short.
“TPP contains no enforceable measures to address the persistently increasing U.S. trade deficit or currency manipulation and will likely lead to the same negative overall outcomes of previous trade agreements,” he said.
Opposition to the deal in the U.S. and election year complications have led some to speculate that Congress won’t vote on the agreement until the lame duck session following the election, or possibly not until 2017. The Peterson report notes that delaying TPP approval by one year “would represent a $77 billion permanent loss.” Aside from that figure, the report also says the U.S. could forfeit gains that compound over time as well as become vulnerable to other trade agreements in the region.