Trading Up in Asia

Why the United States Needs the Trans-Pacific Partnership

As the Doha Round of global trade talks nears its 12th year with no end in sight, the negotiations have all but failed. Frustrated with Doha’s stagnation and eager to expand trade and secure alliances, the United States has signed a series of bilateral free-trade agreements (FTAs), culminating in last year’s pacts with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. These deals have been generally favorable to the United States; the agreement with South Korea is expected to increase trade between the two countries by billions of dollars and create tens of thousands of jobs for each.

Despite these results, the bilateral approach doesn’t offer much promise. The passage of last year’s deals ended a five-year standoff between, on the one side, most Republicans in the House of Representatives and pro-trade advocates in the business community and, on the other, House Democrats, most unions, and U.S. car

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