After more than five years of negotiation, on October 5, 2015, trade ministers from twelve countries announced that an agreement had been reached on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The Obama Administration released the final text of the agreement on November 5, 2015, kicking into gear the timeline for US congressional consideration established by the Trade Promotion Authority legislation passed last summer.
The TPP is the largest free trade agreement to date, encompassing twelve countries (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam) that represent nearly 40 percent of global GDP. It affects companies across all sectors of the global economy, including pharmaceutical, financial services, technology, and telecommunications firms, as well as any company exporting or importing goods to any member country. It also creates new rules among the member countries regarding key business issues, from intellectual property and antitrust to data flows, e‑commerce, and the acceptable behavior of state-owned enterprises, with new channels created for dispute resolution. Any company that does business in the Asia-Pacific region should take advantage of the opportunity, before the agreement enters into force, to prepare for the changes the TPP will bring.