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Is the TPP Making the United States a Less Benign Hegemon?

A congressional trade delegation, led by Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, February 2015. Reuters

The United States may be on the verge of walking away from a trade pact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), that it virtually wrote. When President Barack Obama said that “the TPP means that America will write the rules of the road in the twenty-first century,” he was not speaking metaphorically. Scholars Todd Allee and Andrew Lugg have documented the incredible extent to which the TPP draws on past U.S. Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)—around 45 percent of the language in previous U.S. FTAs can be found copied verbatim in the TPP, and that figure rises to 80 percent for the TPP’s investment chapter, which is of particular interest to the United States.

Yet the United States did not offer to open its market very much in return for the concessions that it was able to wrest from others. According to the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), by 2032 the

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