The United States was a member to the 2016 Trans Pacific Partnership deal. Then Trump pulled out.

Now the 2018 Trans Pacific Partnership is starting up - without the US. This could result in negotiating a deal with terms that wouldn't have otherwise been beneficial to the US.

Now our knowledge of the 2016 TPP is fragmentary. But the US interests should be fairly clear. (Pharmaceuticals, patents and writing trade policy for Asia). You can read the full text here.

I'm trying to work out what terms would change in the TPP without the US? What are the interests (or examples of) that the US put into the 2016 TPP that could now be left out?

My question is: Are there any provisions in the TPP that were exclusively or primarily beneficial to the US that are likely be removed from a future agreement?

Note additional: Today Trump has said he'd reconsider the TPP if the US got a 'better deal'.

  • "But the US interests should be fairly clear" Are you sure? TTP was, among other things, a way of having a say in Asia. My guess is China is very happy with this. Without trying to do unjust comparisons, the TTP was likely made by a school of thought that acknowledged that policy is to be measured in decades. Notice that after years of failed military conflicts it wasn't a big army that took down the former Soviet Union. Perhaps I'm wrong but this decision from the Trump administration seems (to me) arbitrary and nonsensical.
    – armatita
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 9:56
  • 1
    @armatita What is sensible for the economy is not necessarily something that makes sense to a politicians base. There was a rallying cry against TPP for a few reasons from people on both sides of the aisle, but especially from Trump's base. Economists on both sides of the aisle generally agree free trade benefits all involved, but most people aren't economists.
    – Gramatik
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 15:46
  • @hawkeye - I updated your question to be more answerable and on topic. I think the answers to this question will provide the information you are looking for. Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 16:04
  • @Gramatik Yes, I agree. My point was that the phrase "But the US interests should be fairly clear" is not at all obvious. TTP is more than a trade agreement. Also I was not arguing if TTP is good or not (it certainly has some disadvantages) but the way the withdrawal was made is bizarre (the same for the Paris agreement, for example). I don't see any semblance of a bigger plan here, but admittedly I'm speculating. This is not an answer.
    – armatita
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 16:09

2 Answers 2


This is what the deal will include:

  • The abolition of all tariffs on seafood, wine, sheep meat, cotton wool and manufactured goods across the region
  • New bilateral trade deals for Australia with Canada and Mexico
  • Japan speeding up the reduction of import barriers for Australian beef imports
  • Japan eliminating several tariffs on Australian cheese imports
  • Improved conditions for Australian service exports within the region — such exports were worth more than $18 billion last financial year

One of the differences without the US is scale:

  • The deal would have covered about 40 per cent of the global economy The deal would have covered about 40 per cent of the global economy and a quarter of world trade if the US stayed in.

The Australian Industry Group says it would have naturally been stronger with the participation of the US.

  • But Dairy Australia says the absence of the US from the deal is a positive for the Australian dairy industry.

"The US has in past years … been a real cost competitor into Japan. They tend to compete on price, so of course the more tariffs and barriers they face, the more difficult it is for them to do that. It's only a good thing for us that the US has excluded themselves from that agreement," Mr Droppert said.

What has changed without the US?

  • 20 major clauses insisted upon by America have been excluded, apparently much to everyone's relief. Clauses that would have benefitted the US at the expense of everyone else now are gone. (Don't actually know which ones these are.)

We can see the original TPP here.

These are the terms that have been removed:

  • certain provisions relating to patentable subject matter;
  • the requirements to provide patent term extensions in the case of delays in granting a patent or providing marketing approval of a pharmaceutical invention;
  • the requirement to protect undisclosed pharmaceutical test data;
  • the provisions relating to biologics;
  • the provisions requiring an increase in the term of protection provided by copyright;
  • the requirements for civil and criminal penalties relating to:
  • circumvention of technological prevention measures (TPM);
  • circumvention of rights management Information (RMI);
  • decoding of encrypted satellite and cable signals; and
  • provisions relating to legal remedies against ISPs and the grant to them of safe harbours.

Other IP-related obligations will remain in the CPTPP, including those relating to:

  • the expansion in scope of Customs’ border-enforcement powers to include goods for export and ex officio seizure powers;
  • protection for performers’ property and moral rights; and
  • expanded remedies for trade mark infringement.

The TPP has no requirements that are there as a poison pill to prevent the US from withdrawing and provides little to no additional incentive to join. One of the greatest objections that Trump and many American companies have is that there is no protection of US company interests despite the economic leverage that the US has. This is why Trump and many others call this a terrible deal.

In the business world when businesses team up the more powerful entity tends to gain the most benefit, while the smaller, less powerful entity tends to assume the most risk. Any business leader making a deal that doesn't follow this dynamic, tends to lose everything if those deals sour. So when Trump says its a bad deal it is from the viewpoint of a very successful business man who has perfected that model.

Even if there are a few provisions that currently exist to entice the US to the table, the TPP is unlikely to remove them since doing so would require the new agreement to be ratified again. Since this agreement has been widely accepted by all except the US it is unlikely to change in the near future. In addition the US is an economic powerhouse. Having them come in is still in the best interest of the TPP ratifiers. Removing any incentive to do so is counter to their best interests unless the intent of the TPP becomes to move to exclude US based companies from these markets.

  • 3
    Could use some supporting information, especially since this answer doesn't address the OP's request for specific provisions or impacts on the U.S. The one link about Trump calling this a "terrible deal" for the United States is a Politifact piece from 2015 which rates then-candidate Trump's claim that China is benefitting from the deal as "pants on fire" and states: "The experts all agreed: The trade deal will most likely negatively impact China." Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 17:20
  • @Jeffronicus The link was to that it was called a terrible deal not an evaluation of the actual deal. If you read the link it supports the reasoning for why trump dislikes the deal. Whether trumps assessment of the deal is valid is not relevant to this question. And explains why removing any that might be seen as proUS is not going to happen, which is the On-Topic question currently. Basically even if there are any provisions that are ProUS they are not going to be removed now because doing so would require a new round of negotiations and ratifications Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 18:09
  • BTW Are there any ProUS provisions in the TPP currently is a different question than was asked either here or in the original off topic version. The original question was what can we gut from the TPP that was only there for the US. The answer is nothing because doing so would require a new round of ratifications and negotiations. Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 18:13
  • Thanks @SoylentGray - I get that you see a distinction between the question of 'any proUS provisions currently' and 'any proUS provisions that we can remove'. I'd like to get answers to both questions. My experience is that stack exchange reviewers will see the second question as a duplicate and close it if I ask it as a separate question. Could you please update your question to answer both questions (and help me to update the question to be more clear).
    – hawkeye
    Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 2:58
  • @hawkeye - I already said there are no provisions that give any significant edge to the US. It is a very balanced, to Anti-direct american benefits. That does not mean that it will harm the US but it is designed to prevent future US administrations from abusing it. If it works as intended it will bring several developing nations up to 1st world status. Which has a great indirect benefit to the american economy if the government stays out of its way. But what good is a trade treaty if the elite power brokers are not getting a piece of the pie to play with. Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 1:26

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