There is an opportunity for the U.S. Congress to consider the negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) after the November 8 elections during a “lame-duck” session. In order for this to occur, members of Congress need to hear from constituents that approving TPP is a priority for the tech sector.
TPP will remove 18,000 tariffs on U.S. exports, including those on information and communication technology (ICT) goods. Under TPP, expanded market access to key countries will open growth opportunities for the U.S. tech industry. TPP involves 12 Pacific Rim countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, U.S. and Vietnam.
The TPP is the first trade agreement to recognize the vital importance of the tech sector to the global economy. With the “E-Commerce” chapter, a number of cutting-edge provisions will enhance trade for this sector including the free and open Internet and the ability to move data across borders without interruption. Additionally, border delays and customs inefficiencies that raise costs for the exporter and impede the flow of exports throughout the region will be addressed.
In the U.S., ratification would occur after the president submits TPP implementing legislation to Congress, which many expect he will do this fall. Congress would then have a maximum of 90 days in session to vote up-or-down (no amendments) on the measure before the president could sign the bill and implement the agreement by proclamation.
Many believe the deal’s best chance at ratification is the legislative period between Election Day 2016 and January 3, 2017, known as the lame-duck session. If Congress does not pass the TPP now, there is a possibility that the United States will not ratify the agreement. The costs of not approving the TPP is substantial, both in terms of lost U.S. sales to countries that have concluded, or are seeking to conclude, preferential trade agreements with our competitors, as well as significant damage to U.S. credibility and our ability to help write the rules for trade in the pivotal Asia-Pacific region.