Pacific Nations Release Text of Landmark TPP Trade Agreement

The text of a landmark deal between a dozen Pacific nations including the U.S. and Japan to remove trade barriers on items ranging from cars to rice was released Thursday.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership will provide duty-free trade on most goods, and reduce tariffs on others. It will also provide mutual recognition of many regulations, including an exclusivity period for biologic drugs derived from living organisms and patent protection for pharmaceuticals. That was one of the final topics that was settled in marathon talks last month, as developing nations sought quicker access to generic medications.

The TPP, whose members account for 40 percent of the world economy, took five years and 19 formal rounds of talks to forge. Negotiators met in Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, Lima, Melbourne, San Diego, and elsewhere on the Pacific Rim, hammering out details of the biggest regional trade agreement in history.

Now the deal must be ratified by all 12 nations, and in many, that will be a multi-step process. While most of the countries are expected to approve it, in the U.S. and Canada electoral politics and divides over the accord could mean long delays and risks to passage.

The U.S. led the process and the White House framed the deal as expanding markets for U.S.-made goods and job opportunities for people in the U.S.

The pact will eliminate more than 18,000 tariffs that other nations impose now on U.S.-made products, the White House said in an e-mailed fact sheet. Without the agreement, those tariffs are as high as 59 percent on the $56 billion in U.S. machinery products exported last year to countries in TPP, the White House said.

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