BY PETER DRAHOS, ANU
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) may yet be the agreement that most transforms national regulatory systems. It could be even more transformative than the Uruguay Round (1986–1994) that delivered the WTO and the 1994 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). But much depends on if, and when, China joins the TPP.
So far 12 parties have signed a text of the TPP — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. But each party has to now shepherd this text through their respective domestic treaty-making processes. The TPP does not need the approval of all its signatories to come into force. Six or more signatories making up at least 85 per cent of the combined GDP of the original signatories would be enough to give the TPP legal force. But the United States, with its US$18 trillion GDP, does have to be part of the six. Read more