A pro-development deal would be a good thing indeed. Despite decades of presidents touting “free trade”, the US still seriously restricts poor countries’ ability to sell goods here. While the European Union imposes no quotas or duties on exports from the world’s poorest countries (except on weapons), the US hasn’t followed suit. It provides some exemptions for certain African countries and Haiti, but the exemptions are riddled with loopholes, and imports from poor Asian countries like Cambodia and Bangladesh face an average tariff of 15 percent. And both the US and Europe continue to provide domestic agricultural subsidies that make it extremely difficult for poor farmers abroad to compete..But TPP has some serious failings from a development perspective. The “development chapter” is basically symbolic. It creates a committee to talk about development, but gives that committee no power. The deal has patent and regulatory provisions that could make drugs more expensive in poor countries. It reduces trade barriers for Vietnam, a lower-middle-income country, but in the process could leave countries outside the deal like Cambodia and Bangladesh worse off. And while there hasn’t been time for in-depth analysis yet, Vietnam might not even benefit much, given the “rules of origin” contained in the deal.”.Worst of all, TPP continues a trend of doing trade agreements regionally, excluding many of the world’s poorest countries. A trade policy actually geared toward development would focus on the World Trade Organization and try to help all poor nations, not just Vietnam and a big group of richer neighboring countries.”.The ”


Source:The Hindu Business Line