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United States Wraps Up Sweeping Trade Agreement

On Oct. 5, the United States and eleven Pacific Rim nations (Japan, Vietnam, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Peru, Chile, Singapore, New Zealand and Brunei) concluded negotiations on the most sweeping free trade agreement in U.S. history. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement will eliminate tariffs and revamp Customs rules for trade amongst all 12 TPP countries, with some tariffs eliminated immediately and others phased out over a period as long as 30 years. The Agreement defines how much processing must occur in a TPP country in order for a good to qualify for these tariff reductions, with these “rules of origin” varying by product. Indeed, the TPP Agreement contains 30 chapters covering trade and trade-related issues, beginning with trade in goods and continuing through sanitary and phytosanitary measures for agriculture products; technical barriers to trade; anti-dumping and anti-subsidy rules; investment; services (such as express delivery, financial services, and insurance); e-commerce; government procurement; and intellectual property. In addition to traditional issues covered by previous free trade agreements, the TPP incorporates new and emerging trade issues related to the internet and the digital economy, labor and the participation of state-owned enterprises in international trade and investment.

The TPP agreement will now be sent to Congress, where, under recently passed “Trade Promotion Authority” rules, it can be considered as early as January. 

© 2020 BARNES & THORNBURG LLPNational Law Review, Volume V, Number 279
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About this Author

David M. Spooner, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Washington DC, Corporate and Finance Law Attorney
Partner

David M. Spooner is a partner in the Corporate Department and Co-Chair of the International Trade Practice Group. Mr. Spooner represents governments, trade associations, and corporate clients on international trade matters, including trade remedies, trade policy and customs issues. He uses his past experience as a high-level political appointee in the Executive Branch and on Capitol Hill to assist clients with their advocacy efforts before both branches of government, as well as before foreign governments.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr...

202-371-6377
Linda M. Weinberg International trade lawyer Barnes Thornburg
Partner

Linda Weinberg provides practical advice to business and institutional clients on international trade law, including export controls, foreign assets control and customs. She works regularly with the U.S. and foreign government agencies that regulate international trade to help clients realize their distinct objectives surrounding their global commerce initiatives.

Co-chair of the firm’s International Trade practice group, Linda advises and represents clients on commodity jurisdiction, export classification, licensing, technical assistance agreements, and enforcement related to...

202-408-6902
Karen A. McGee, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Washington DC, Corporate Law Attorney
Partner

Karen A. McGee is the Managing Partner of the Washington, D.C. office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP and a member of the Global Services Practice Group, Associations and Foundations Practice Group, and the Corporate and Intellectual Property Departments. Ms. McGee concentrates her practice in the international trade area.

Ms. McGee counsels foreign and domestic clients and trade associations on international trade regulatory matters involving the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR); foreign assets controls; antidumping and...

202-408-6932
Christine J. Sohar Henter, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Washington DC, Corporate Law Attorney
Partner

Christine started her legal career in public service. She was a senior attorney with the Office of the Chief Counsel for Import Administration (now the Office of Enforcement & Compliance) at the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). There, she advised U.S. government officials on compliance with U.S. trade laws and represented the U.S. in judicial appeals domestically before courts and internationally before the World Trade Organization (WTO) and North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panels. Christine was also the lead attorney for Commerce's Office of Textiles and Apparel, drafting...

202-408-6915
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