Lindsay Mitchell

Jan 08, 2015  |  Today's News

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an ambitious, 21st century trade agreement that the United States is negotiating with 11 other countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam). When complete, TPP will unlock opportunities for American workers, families, businesses, farmers, and ranchers by providing increased access to some of the fastest growing markets in the world.

“When complete” are the keywords.  We’ve heard for years now that the agreement is moving in a positive direction and we’ve looked for completion in 2013, then in 2014, and now in “early 2015” though any estimate seems to be ambitious at this point.

K. William Watson at the Cato Institute has put together an interesting graph regarding free trade agreements and the length of time they are negotiated versus the length of time Congress works towards implementation. 

See for yourself.

“The argument they’re trying to make with this graph is that the United States needs to pass trade promotion authority to make sure the TPP doesn’t get bogged down in Congress (the red line) after negotiations finally conclude.  They may be right, but I think it also tells us quite plainly that quick ratification of the TPP, with or without trade promotion authority, is an unrealistic expectation.”

To me, the graph looks like another example of slow and uncompromising action by Congress as the years progress.  Compare Congressional action pre 2000 to more recent 2006 and 2007 action. 

Frustrating, at best.