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Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations

The Obama Administration has begun negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade and investment agreement intended to begin the process of integrating the economies of the Americas and East Asia.  The United States initiated negotiations in March 2010 with seven countries: Singapore, Chile, New Zealand, Brunei, Australia, Peru, and Vietnam. Other countries, such as Colombia, may be invited to join the negotiations or sign onto the completed agreement down the road.

There is some speculation that the TPP might be seen as creating a counterbalance in the region to China’s increasing economic and political influence.  The TPP might also be seen as an instrument for pressuring the relative economic heavyweights of Southeast Asia -- Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia – to come to terms with the United States.  All three countries have been reluctant to sign free trade agreements (FTAs) with the United States, in part because of the implications for national sovereignty of investment, services, and intellectual property provisions of the U.S. model FTA.

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