The Trans-Pacific Partnership is just another measure by which the world is going to become more connected and collaborative. In much of the world, world governments maintain and establish barricades to trade and international law. Despite these attempts at isolationism, most nations are becoming increasingly involved in a world economy, by hook or by crook. Take a look at the infographic below for an example of how this works.
In most notable cases (USA, Japan, Turkey, Germany, etc.) the world is becoming a place where trade policies are more fluid. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a fulcrum in moving the mountain of traditional economic isolationism, but after seven years of negotiations, it is still somewhat short of full implementation.
There are major international holdouts who haven’t had a seat at the table for the TPP, most conspicuously China. Global Crossings notes this, and points out how China was a late adopter of earlier trade liberalization measures, like the WTO. Many believe that desire for inclusion within the TPP, and all the economic benefits that go along with it, will be enough to motivate China to comply with demanding regulatory provisions that are part and parcel with the Partnership. These benefits include remarkable increase in Intellectual Property protection and others, but some analysts see China going in a different direction.
With the One Road, One Belt plan still unfolding, China is deeply invested in expanded international economics, but ones which disproportionately favor Asia over the West. For those who see the TPP as a carrot held out by an America still trying to reassert its dominance over the world’s second-largest economy, it’s starting to be easier to imagine a China which never takes part in the TPP. Only time will tell.
In the meantime, there are endless other impediments to the full implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and these are coming from places you probably don’t expect. Because the TPP calls for regulatory harmony between all the nations which comprise the agreement, there are many localized challenges which prevent easy approval.
For instance, take milk sale standards in Greece. Greek law dictates that milk has a 7 day shelf life from cow to consumer. Dairy production in standards in Germany don’t even allow milk to reach the market this quickly, so this tiny portion of TPP discussions reach an impasse. Who is going to back down, one nation’s cultural values or the way the rest of the world works? As you might imagine, there are endless little details like this which are incredibly nettlesome to iron out for international legislators.
But until an international trade policy like the TPP becomes the rule of law, it’s unlikely that any one nation, particularly those with the most power, will adopt trade fluidity policies on the level dictated by the TPP. From the Infographic, you can see how some significant governments are regressing in terms of trade openness. Others are instituting isolationist policies, even as trade becomes a more significant part of their GDP in spite. Finally, nations all around the world work hard to limit economic opportunity for nations like the US and China. Until a true international agreement can be reached, the US will be leaving money on the table. The US has a lot to gain and a lot to offer in this deal, but it’s clear that national values will hold a lot of sway in delaying a finalized TPP.