Despite Promising Progress, Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership Not Finalized

transpacific agreementThe Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership hit another roadblock this past week, as the United States and 11 other Pacific nations failed to reach a final agreement. The partnership, which would create the largest regional trade agreement ever, has been met with a great deal of complications.

The trade partnership has been in the works for over a decade, with America taking the lead back in 2009. The Trans-Pacific agreement, which involves so many countries, each with their own set of priorities, has proven to be even more complicated than anyone had originally thought. The representatives working on the deal, however, are still optimistic and believe they are closing the gaps, meaning a final agreement could be reached fairly soon.

“There are an enormous number of issues that one works through at these talks, narrowing differences, finding landing zones,” said Michael B. Froman, the United States trade representative. ”I am very impressed with the work that has been done. I am gratified by the progress that has been made.”

Final agreements were reached in a few key areas this past week, including broad environmental protections for some of the most sensitive, diverse and threatened ecosystems on Earth. This had been one of the more problematic sections of the agreement. In addition, agreements on how to label exports with distinct “geographic indications” and a code of conduct and rules against conflicts of interest for arbitrators who would serve on extrajudicial tribunals to hear complaints from companies about whether their investments were unfairly damaged by government actions.

Representatives will now be returning to their home countries to iron out the remainder of the agreement before they reconvene again. In order for the agreements to succeed, all countries involved will need to find ways to narrow the differences that remain.

The failure to not finalize the deal in its entirety means that the next round of negotiations will now likely force presidential candidates to voice their opinion on the agreement, a topic some of been avoiding. Republican candidates are likely to support the agreement but high profile democratic candidates, particularly Hillary Clinton, have shied away from taking a stance.

The progress made this past week is promising, as the countries have been able to keep the momentum going on this agreement. Although the longer they continue to go without reaching an agreement, the chances of the plan unraveling may increase.

To learn more about the Trans-Pacific Agreement, check out this CNBC article.