U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman on Thursday (Oct. 15) said that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal reached last week cannot be renegotiated because it would upset the careful balance worked out between all 12 countries, and that the current agreement is the one the administration will ultimately send to Congress for approval.
[Reposted from Inside U.S. Trade | October 15, 2015]
Speaking in an Oct. 15 conference call on the TPP organized by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Froman said the TPP is different than previous U.S. free trade agreements, which tended to be negotiated on a bilateral basis and are therefore easier to reopen.
Froman was deeply involved in the renegotiation of the U.S.-Korea FTA in 2010 as the White House deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs. The U.S. unilaterally changed the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement regarding sugar and trucks when there were not enough votes to pass it, notwithstanding earlier claims by administration officials that there could be no changes.
“It’s infinitely more complex when you’ve got 11 other trading partners at the table so this isn’t one of those agreements, where you can reopen an issue or renegotiate a provision,” Froman said. “This is one where every issue is tied to every other issue, and every country’s outcome is balanced against every other country’s outcome. So that’s the agreement that we’ll be putting forward under [Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)] for a vote by Congress.”