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          The Political Economy of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (English)
          Discussion paper by VanGrasstek, Graig/UNCTAD, 2016, 40 pages
          Categories: Regional and Bilateral Trade Agreements, Trade Policy Analysis and Trade Data Sources

          The TransPacific Partnership (TPP) is one of two current mega-regional initiatives that could jointly be the most consequential development in the trading system since the end of the Uruguay Round in 1994. Together with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations that are still underway between the United States and the European Union, this agreement could redefine the landscape of the international trading system. The focus of this analysis is primarily upon the TPP, but where appropriate reference is made as well to the TTIP. The principal objective of the present study is to place the TPP in its larger political and economic context, and to define — but not definitively answer the questions that arise concerning its impact on the trading system. The main focus here is on one overarching question and two subsidiary questions. The overall question addressed here is, “What implications does the TPP hold for the evolution of the international trading system?” That system incorporates not just the multilateral agreements of the WTO, but also the larger body of trade law that includes inter alia bilateral and regional RTAs, plurilateral agreements, and other treaties and institutions. The evolution of that system is of interest to all countries no matter what their levels of economic development, trade strategies, or relationship to the TPP. Both of the subsidiary questions speak to important aspects of that overarching question. The paper does not attempt to provide definitive answers to any of these questions, but will instead seek to stimulate discussion. It does so by specifying each of these questions in greater detail, discussing their significance, and providing evidence and arguments on each side of the issue.