The US and Costa Rica Discuss Free Trade Pacts
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) need to work together.
All the acronyms may seem confusing at first, but for advancing free trade pacts that have been discussed in recent meetings of the aforementioned organizations they are pretty important. The most widely known albeit heavily scrutinized free trade pact of the Central American and Caribbean region is CAFTA-DR, which stands for the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement, and has been relevant to the recent discussions.
Free Trade Agreements figure significantly in the development of new jobs both in the United States and abroad. For instance, in Costa Rica the free trade agreement has contributed to 11.9 billion dollars in exports to the United States, and 7.2 billion dollars in imports coming into Costa Rica. Costa Rica has also been able to diversify the kinds of export goods that it sends to the US, and along with the regular exports of Coffee, Sugar and Bananas, there have also been an increasing number of exports of computer processors and medical supplies.
The current issue that both the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership have are addressing is that of the Trade Promotion Authority. The Trade Promotion Authority has to approve the actions and negotiations of TTIP and TPP in order for them to have any effect whatsoever. This falls to the seat of the US presidency. The Trade Promotion Authority was in effect from 1975-1994 and from 2002-2007. It is currently in effect, and so the actions of TTIP and TPP must fall within the approval of President Obama.
With companies like Microsoft and Starbucks in Washington State, free trade agreements have been crucial to the state’s economy and job development where roughly forty percent of new jobs were established under a free trade agreement. The issue related to jobs creation has been a major player in Washington DC, as well, and policy makers and lobbyists are both anxious and concerned for the coming TPA announcement on which free trade agreements will be permitted, and which ones will be nixed.
Another nation that has benefitted and looks to continue benefitting from FTAs is Chile. Chile signed free trade agreements with 62 nations including the United States, China, Japan and the entire European Union. This has brought much prosperity to the nation in recent years, and some claim that it gives Chile an unfair advantage in the region.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership has recently engaged Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, New Zealand, Mexico, Singapore and Vietnam in various free trade agreement talks which it is presenting before TPA. Mexico, Peru and Chile along with Colombia are part of the Pacific Alliance which Costa Rica hopes to become a part of, too.
As the timeframe for President Obama to use his Trade Promotion Authority becomes less and less, many on Capitol Hill, in the US and around the world are hopeful for new trade initiatives to come into effect.
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