If the new Congress can agree on anything this year, it may well be the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal between the United States and 11 other countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Passions run high when it comes to trade deals these days, and the Obama administration is working hard to sell it to labor unions, which roundly oppose it.
Negotiations over the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement are continuing this week in Washington, but some economists say the talks shouldn’t be limited to traditional trade barriers like tariffs.
According to Market Pulse, among the issues on the agenda are “intellectual property and reform of state-owned firms to establish fair business competition,” as well as bilateral issues, “such as Japan’s proposed exceptional tariffs on some agricultural produce.”
The Obama administration will fall well short of its goal of doubling exports in five years. But it is hoping to secure a longer-run victory on the trade front with sweeping new agreements in the next two years.
The yen neared its weakest level in seven years on Thursday and Tokyo’s stock indices once more outperformed their Asian peers with the prospect of a snap election continuing to hold sway over the country’s markets.
Speculation that Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, could seek to confirm his mandate for extended stimulus and delay a second scheduled increase in consumption tax set for next October continued to dominate sentiment.
The Obama administration faces pressure to include currency provisions in a new Pacific Rim trade pact, with Republicans and Democrats citing swings in the yen as cause for action.
The White House has been trying to avoid addressing the issue in talks with Japan and 10 other countries over a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), since a bipartisan majority in Congress called last year for any resulting pact to include provisions to ban currency manipulation.