US and 11 other countries reach new international trade agreement

The US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and eight other countries that border the Pacific Ocean have reached a new trade agreement.

The 12 countries involved reached agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) this week.

The agreement is to promote economic growth; support the creation and retention of jobs; enhance innovation, productivity, and competitiveness; raise living standards and promote transparency.

In a statement from Ministers from the 12 countries, they said that the TPP is an important step towards their ultimate goal of open trade and regional integration across the region.

According to the Office of the US Trade Representative there are five defining features of the trade agreement:

Comprehensive market access

The TPP eliminates or reduces tariff and non-tariff barriers across substantially all trade in goods and services and covers the full spectrum of trade, including goods and services trade and investment, so as to create new opportunities and benefits for our businesses, workers, and consumers.

Regional approach to commitments

The agreement facilitates the development of production and supply chains, and seamless trade, enhancing efficiency and supporting our goal of creating and supporting jobs, raising living standards, enhancing conservation efforts, and facilitating cross-border integration, as well as opening domestic markets.

Addressing new trade challenges

The TPP promotes innovation, productivity, and competitiveness by addressing new issues, including the development of the digital economy, and the role of state-owned enterprises in the global economy.

Inclusive trade

The trade agreement includes new elements that seek to ensure that economies at all levels of development and businesses of all sizes can benefit from trade.

It also includes commitments to help small- and medium-sized businesses understand the agreement, take advantage of its opportunities, and bring their unique challenges to the attention of the TPP governments.

It also includes specific commitments on development and trade capacity building, to ensure that all Parties are able to meet the commitments in the agreement and take full advantage of its benefits.

Platform for regional integration

The TPP is intended as a platform for regional economic integration and designed to include additional economies across the Asia-Pacific region.