November 5, 2015

THE MOST IMPORTANT PRESIDENCY FOR FREE TRADE IN OUR HISTORY:

A Triumphant Trade Deal (Claude Barfield Nov. 5, 2015, US News)

[I]n the vital area of digital trade and rules for the Internet, the verdict is in: The agreement is a triumph for both the United States and the future of an open, competitive digital-trading system for the nations of the Asia-Pacific region.

Why is this important? First, the Trans-Pacific Partnership includes nations that encompass about 40 percent of the world's gross domestic product, and almost one-third of world trade. With the successful conclusion of the negotiations, a number of other nations stand ready to join in coming years: Expressions of high interest have come from Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Colombia, among others. Thus at a minimum, the trade deal will set the rules for nations bordering the Pacific, with wide-ranging ripple effects throughout the wide world-trading system. Second, for the United States particularly, the establishment of precedent-setting free market rules for digital trade and the Internet is vital to future economic growth. Bolstered by new trade and investment models, seven of the top 10 Internet firms are based in the United States, and U.S. firms are the world's biggest producers of information technology goods and services. In 2011, the U.S. International Trade Commission estimated that digital trade increased U.S. annual GDP by $517 to $710 billion (3.43 to 4.8 percent).

The world trading system has barely begun to establish rules to maintain a free and open world Internet system. The last multilateral trade negotiations in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization were concluded in 1994, a time when the implications of the Internet were barely on the horizon. With no immediate hope for new WTO trade rounds, bilateral and regional trade agreements have established new frontiers for 21st century trade rules. And it is in that context that the Trans-Pacific Partnership has assumed monumental importance.

Posted by at November 5, 2015 6:09 PM

  

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