U.S. NEWS: TPP Failure Would Be a Setback in Latin America for the U.S.

09/08/2016

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September 8, 2016 | BY: KEZIA MCKEAGUE

After five years of negotiations, the fate of the Trans-Pacific Partnership now rests with the U.S. Congress. Proponents of the ambitious multinational trade deal, which comprises roughly 40 percent of global GDP, have centered their promotion efforts on both its economic benefits and its importance to U.S. geopolitical interests in Asia. Yet the implications for U.S. policy goals in Latin America are no less real. A failure to ratify the pact would represent not only a loss for the world economy, but also a setback for U.S. leadership and credibility in the Western Hemisphere.

At the most basic level, such a failure would damage perceptions of the United States as a reliable partner. The Trans-Pacific Partnership includes four close U.S. trading partners in the Western Hemisphere: Canada, Mexico, Peru and Chile. Policymakers in these countries and others in the region would likely interpret a defeat of the trade deal as symptomatic of Washington’s declining interest and ability to lead on promoting international rules and norms.

If the United States cannot meet its commitment on this agreement, counterparts would have little incentive to pay domestic political costs to negotiate with the United States in the future. Each of the signatories made sacrifices in the negotiations, and there is no appetite to reopen them.

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