Progress Reported in TPP Negotiations

    26 December, 2013


    From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report.

    Top trade officials reported progress, but no final deal after meets in Singapore earlier this month. They met to discuss details of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP. The plan calls for removing non-tariff trade requirements among 12 Pacific nations.

    Supporters say the TPP would make trade easier, create jobs and help the economy of those countries. But critics say some of the requirements exist to help protect individuals, workers and the environment.

    The 12 nations are responsible for about one-third of all world trade. They include Australia, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States.

    Progress Reported in TPP Negotiations

    Trade officials are set to restart talks in January. Negotiators are attempting to settle several disputes. The United States wants Japan to end restrictions on American-made automobiles. Some nations are arguing over intellectual property rights for films and music.

    Experts say earlier trade deals cut tariffs and other payments, this made it less costly to move goods from one nation to another. Supporters say lower costs increases trade.

    Charles Boustany is a congressman from the American state of Louisiana. He notes that in 2011, trade exports and imports of goods and services with TPP countries supported nearly 15 million jobs in the United States. The Trans Pacific Partnership is an attempt to increase trade by making rules similar from one nation to another.

    Lori Wallach works with the American activist group Public Citizen. He says some government rules for importing or exporting goods are necessary. He says they protect the environment and the health of workers and people who buy imported goods.

    Lori Wallach says the TPP is more about politics than trade. He says big companies have used secretive trade negotiations to get things done that Congress would not approve. He says rules that make work conditions safe or protect health are under attack if they are defined as a barrier to the international trade.

    Opposition from labor and consumer protection groups means the proposed deal faces an uncertain future in Washington. The agreement has to be confirmed by many national legislatures, including the U.S. Congress.

    Supporters of the TPP are seeking to prevent Congress from making changes to any agreement reached at the trade talks.

    And that's the Economics Report for VOA Learning English. I'm Christopher Cruise.