Negotiators from 12 countries finally agreed on a comprehensive trade deal to reduce barriers to exports and imports in the Pacific Rim. During meetings earlier this month in Atlanta, representatives from Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam met with the U.S. Trade Representative to hammer out the final details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP.) The future for the accord remains almost as mysterious as its contents however.
The exact contents of the deal have not been publicly released yet, but that did not stop political officials from attacking it as soon as the accord was announced. Delays in completing the agreement have made its actual acceptance by the governments of the participating countries unclear. It may not be possible to move such a controversial piece of legislation so close to Congressional elections in 2016. Further, both leading democratic contenders for U.S. President have come out against the pact. Therefore if a Democratic President is elected in the next cycle it may never be possible to get TPP ratified. Republicans initially supported it but reports from the negotiations have suggested that the U.S. relented in its pursuit of 12-year patent protection for U.S. pharmaceutical companies. The final agreement may only cover 8 or even 5 years, giving hesitant Republicans the cover they need to withdraw support for the measure altogether.