The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a free trade agreement that was signed in March 2018 by 11 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. The agreement was created after the United States withdrew from the original Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in 2017.
The CPTPP is one of the largest free trade agreements in the world, covering a market of 500 million people with a combined GDP of $13.5 trillion. The agreement eliminates tariffs on a wide range of goods and services, and includes provisions for intellectual property, labor rights, environmental protections, and dispute resolution.
One of the main objectives of the CPTPP is to promote economic integration and cooperation among member countries. By reducing barriers to trade and investment, the agreement aims to create a more open and competitive business environment that benefits all parties involved. The CPTPP also seeks to create new opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to participate in global trade, by simplifying customs procedures, reducing regulatory burdens, and providing technical assistance and capacity building.
The CPTPP includes several key provisions related to intellectual property (IP), including patents, trademarks, and copyrights. The agreement establishes minimum standards for IP protection and enforcement, and includes provisions to address new issues related to digital technology and the internet. The CPTPP also includes provisions related to labor rights and environmental protections, which aim to ensure that trade and economic growth are sustainable and socially responsible.
Another important feature of the CPTPP is its dispute resolution mechanism. The agreement establishes a process for resolving disputes between member countries, which includes consultation and mediation, followed by binding arbitration if necessary. This mechanism helps to ensure that the agreement is enforced effectively and that disputes are resolved in a fair and transparent manner.
Since its signing in 2018, several other countries have expressed interest in joining the CPTPP, including the United Kingdom, South Korea, and Thailand. The agreement is seen as a potential model for future trade agreements, as it combines ambitious liberalization measures with strong safeguards for labor rights, environmental protections, and other social issues.
However, the CPTPP has also faced criticism from some quarters. Some critics argue that the agreement could lead to the outsourcing of jobs and the erosion of labor standards, particularly in developing countries. Others have expressed concerns about the potential impact of the agreement on the environment, citing its provisions related to fossil fuels and climate change.
Overall, the CPTPP represents a significant effort to promote economic integration and cooperation among a diverse group of countries. Its success will depend on the ability of member countries to balance the interests of trade liberalisation with the need for social and environmental protections, and to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are shared fairly among all parties involved.