The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade and investment agreement that was concluded on 5 October 2015, after seven years of negotiation, between 12 Pacific Rim countries representing 40% of global GDP. A total of 118 side letters providing specific bilateral arrangements between some of the parties were also signed as part of the deal.

The TPP began as an agreement between the four Pacific states of Brunei Darussalam, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. The P4 (Pacific 4), as it was then known, was signed on 3 June 2005 and came into force on 1 January 2006 as the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership.

In September 2008, the US Trade Representative announced that the US would seek entry into the P4 agreement. For Washington, the P4 offered a neoliberal agenda-friendly platform to expand US economic and strategic interests in Asia. A few months later, the governments of Australia, Peru and Vietnam announced their intention to join as well. Malaysia, Mexico, and Canada joined the negotiations in 2010, while Japan joined in 2013. The US quickly assumed leadership of the whole negotiating process.

Over the years, trade unions, advocacy groups, internet freedom activists, indigenous peoples, environmentalists, health professionals and elected officials criticised and protested against the treaty because it was designed to extend and concentrate corporate power at the expense of people’s rights.

For instance, by granting corporations and investors enormous privileges, the TPP will help to further undermine conditions and wages for workers which have already been eroded by other trade and investment agreements.

Among other controversial clauses, the chapter on intellectual property promotes the interests of monopoly rights-holding corporations, such as large pharmaceutical, major studio and record companies. Signatory states are obliged to extend 20 year drug patent protection by up to eight more years (to cover for regulatory “delays”), thus raising medicine prices and limiting access to generic drugs and treatments. TPP extends major media corporations’ copyright terms for artistic works as well.

The TPP parties have also agreed to enhance cooperation on certain activities related to agricultural biotechnology. The treaty requires member states to ratify the UPOV Convention, a kind of patent system for seeds. This will expand the market for privatised genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and hybrids, and threaten traditional seeds and knowledge.

The TPP’s chapter on regulatory coherence forces a signatory government to engage with “interested persons” when it intends to strengthen public policies. This means that companies from TPP countries will be given the ability to provide input to national policy making in other member states. Governments will also have to conduct regulatory impact assessments, justifying the “need for a regulation” and exploring “feasible alternatives” before proceeding.

Finally, TPP’s sweeping investment chapter extends transnational companies ability to challenge public policies related to health, the environment (the treaty fails to mention climate change even once) or labour. It includes the controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism that allows corporations to sue a state if a new regulation hampers their expected profits or investment potentials. Of particular note, the treaty does not replace, for Canada, Mexico and the United States, the existing NAFTA, thus leaving open the prospect of investor-claimants shopping between the two treaties for the most advantageous rights.

The TPP will be signed in New Zealand on 4 February 2016. It then has to be ratified by national parliaments. The agreement will only come into force once six countries, which must represent at least 85% of the pact’s GDP, have ratified it. This means that either the Japanese Diet or the US Congress have to approve their country’s participation for the TPP to come into effect.

The text of the agreement is available here:

last update: February 2016


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  • 23-May-2016 Radio Mundo Real TPP - Entrevista con Camila Montecinos sobre el avance de uno de los mayores tratados de libre comercio de la historia
    Esta semana dialogamos con Camila Montecinos, integrante de la organización GRAIN, para conocer el estado de las negociaciones del TPP y las amenazas que representa para Chile uno de los países, tanto a nivel latinoamericano como mundial, con más tratados de libre comercio firmados
  • 21-May-2016 El Salvador El Salvador: Inquifar cree que el TPP es peligro para acceso a medicinas genéricas
    La gremial farmacéutica considera que acuerdos de este tipo limitan la producción de medicinas económicas al alargar la restricción de patentes.
  • 21-May-2016 Economía y Negocios Chile: Acuerdo TPP se enviaría al Congreso el segundo semestre
    La Dirección Nacional de Relaciones Económicas Internacionales de la Cancillería (Direcon) informó ayer que el segundo semestre enviaría al Congreso el TPP para su aprobación.
  • 21-May-2016 El Ciudadano Movimientos sociales chilenos se suman a Marcha Mundial contra Monsanto y exigen rechazar el TPP
    El Acuerdo Transpacífico exigiría a Chile ratificar la Ley Monsanto, que privatizaría la semilla y que fue suspendida por la Presidenta Bachelet a inicios de su mandato, debido a las fuertes presiones sociales.
  • 20-May-2016 Washington Post Study predicts modest economic boost for U.S. from Obama trade pact
    The world’s largest regional trade pact, between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations, would marginally boost the U.S. economy over the next 15 years, but it also would erode employment in manufacturing sectors
  • 19-May-2016 Canadian Underwriter Trans Pacific Partnership makes it “quite likely” that Canadians’ confidential data would be subject to US Patriot Act: MP
    A provision in the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement makes it “quite likely” that banking information could be “accessible to American security intelligence agencies.”
  • 17-May-2016 OLCA Chile: Santiaguinos votaron No al TPP
    Una positiva respuesta en la ciudadanía tuvo el llamado de la Plataforma Chile mejor sin TPP a votar en contra del Acuerdo Transpacífico.
  • 16-May-2016 Sputnik Rusia advierte que el TPP podría desequilibrar la economía mundial
    El Acuerdo Transpacífico de Cooperación Económica (TPP, por sus siglas en inglés), negociado en secreto por EEUU, podría alterar el equilibrio de la economía mundial, alertó el vicecanciller ruso Ígor Morgúlov.
  • 11-May-2016 Radio Mundo Real El TPP a la luz del TISA: una mirada desde Uruguay
    REDES – Amigos de la Tierra Uruguay lanzó una nueva publicación en la que realiza un análisis del Acuerdo Transpacífico de Asociación Económica (TPP, por sus siglas en inglés) en comparación con el Tratado sobre Comercio de Servicios (TISA, también por sus siglas en inglés).
  • 10-May-2016 Hola Ciudad Chilenos se manifiestan frente al palacio de Gobierno en contra del TPP
    La organización Chile Mejor Sin TPP se reunió hoy frente al Palacio de la Moneda, sede del Ejecutivo, para manifestarse en contra del Acuerdo de Asociación Transpacífico (TPP), que la nación austral rubricó en noviembre pasado.
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  • AFTINET TPP campaign site
    Web page on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement maintained by the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network
  • Flush the TPP!
    Stop the global corporate coup!
  • Help free the TPP!
    The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement—which some have come to refer to as "NAFTA on steroids"—could ultimately affect the lives of billions of people worldwide. Neither the public, the press, nor even the US Congress knows the full extent of what’s in the text being negotiated—but corporate lobbyists know what it contains. Help us raise a reward for WikiLeaks should it publish the negotiating text of the TPP!
  • It’s our future
    Website on the implications of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement for New Zealand
  • Jane Kelsey’s TPP (US-P4+) website
    This site is intended to provide a primary resource for the negotiations of the TPP. It is maintained by Jane Kelsey, an activist and researcher in New Zealand.
  • Moana Nui 2011
    Pua Mohala I Ka Po in collaboration with the International Forum on Globalization presents an international conference on Pacific transitions: "Moana Nui: Pacific peoples, lands and economies", November 9-11, 2011 Honolulu, Hawaii
  • New Zealand Not For Sale Campaign
    An extended P4 Agreement with the US, if it becomes reality, will be a mini-MAI for New Zealand. It must be stopped, at all costs.
  • Occupy TPPA
    The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is a mega-treaty across nine or more countries. If the negotiations succeed they will put a straightjacket on the policies and laws our government can adopt for the next century. Corporations will gain massive new powers in Australia. Help us stop the TPPA!
  • Stop TPP & TiSA
    Stop TPP & TiSA Petition / Petición contra TPP y TiSA / Pétition contre TPP et TiSA
  • Stop TPP Action
    Japanese alliance website
  • TPP Watch
    TPPWatch is a network of concerned unions, groups and individuals formed to organise and support initiatives to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
  • TPP: What you don’t know will hurt you
    Site run by Public Citizen in the US
  • TPPxBorder
    Cross-border network against the Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership Digest
    The website, supported by the University of Auckland, aims to provide an easily accessible and comprehensive database of resources for researchers, activists, officials and others to encourage informed debate and critical engagement with the issues arising from the proposed TPP agreement and to influence the negotiations.
  • US-NZ Council TPP page
    Section of the UN-New Zealand Council website dedicated to the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations