Recently a bipartisan bill to give president Obama “fast track” authority on trade deals was agreed on by congress. Essentially “fast track” is an expedited process in which congress either votes a trade policy – which consists of domestic laws and tariffs negotiated and agreed upon by the President – up or down without amendments and within a fixed period of time. The bipartisan bill increases the likelihood that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will pass; however there are two major factors to consider. First, the congress must agree on passing the TPP. Second, the Japanese government is unlikely to make major tariff cuts in order to protect its farmers. The U.S. Congress has been cautious with the TPP since Japan has been sly to direct the U.S. attention away from Japanese protection tariffs and towards the containing-China’s economy. Personally, I don’t understand why the United States is so interested in containing China when the world would gain most in the long run if China was included in the TPP. I could see Japanese tariffs having a larger negative impact on the welfare of U.S. farmer in comparison to increasing trades with China. Furthermore, in Martin Wolf’s The Shifts and the Shocks, Wolf writes that emerging economies did so well after the crisis since China did so well, but now that the Chinese economy’s growth has slowed down significantly all emerging markets are facing challenges (p.105-107). So why would it not be beneficial for China to join the TPP if other economies would experience growth as well?
Regardless of the inefficiencies that may be caused by not including China in the TPP, at least some of the lesser developed countries would interact with more developed countries and reform could occur for areas of intellectual property, and environmental and labor standards.
Overall, fast-track to the TPP is essential in letting it pass congress. Otherwise many amendments would be made and the TPP would take a long time before passing. I feel that fast-track may not be the best option since some countries (i.e. Japan) are favored by the policy while others are bound to lose (i.e. U.S.). Also I do not fully understand why China is of large concern to the United States.