The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
A version of the treaty text “subject to legal review” was published by potential contracting parties on 5 November 2015.  Parts of the draft comprehensive agreements have been disclosed to the public in advance.  Many of the provisions contained in the leaked documents are imbued with previous trade agreements. [Citation required] The Office of the United States Trade Representative challenges the idea that ISDS “challenges the sovereign capacity of governments to impose any measures they wish to protect to protect workers` rights, the environment or other matters of public interest.”  The International Bar Association (IBA) echoes this view and notes that “while investment contracts restrict the ability of states to impose arbitrary or discriminatory treatment, they do not restrict (and, in fact, expressly protect) a state`s sovereign right to regulate in the public interest in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner.”  The White House notes that investment protection is an integral part of more than 3,000 trade agreements, the vast majority of which have some form of neutral arbitration.  The United States participates in at least 50 such agreements, has experienced only 13 isDS cases and has never lost a case of ISDS.  The White House asserts that the components of the TPP ISDR are an improvement and improvement over ISDS in other trade agreements: the TPP makes it clear that governments can regulate in the public interest (including health, safety and the environment); The TPP provides for the ability to promptly dismiss reckless claims and to grant rights against the applicant in order to discourage such actions; Fictitious companies are prevented from accessing investment protection measures; and arbitration procedures under the TPP are publicly available and allow non-parties to lodge appeals.  The TPP economies accounted for about 40% of the world`s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the agreement would have been the largest ever concluded by the United States, both in terms of the number of countries and total trade flows. Data from the U.S. International Trade Commission [PDF] show that in 2015, trade with TPP countries exceeded $1.5 trillion, or about 40 percent of total U.S.
trade. The United States has existing free trade agreements with many TPP countries, including Australia, Canada and Mexico, but at the time of the signing of the TPP, an agreement was missing with Japan, the world`s third largest economy. In 2019, the Trump administration negotiated a limited bilateral trade agreement with Tokyo, which, according to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, covers most of the TPP`s economic benefits to the United States. Donald Trump criticized the TPP agreement as too long and complicated and said, “[i]t makes 5,600 pages, so complex that no one has read it.”  Senator Bernie Sanders accused the TPP of being much more than a free trade agreement.  Michael R. Wessel, former commissioner of the U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission, said in May 2015 that “cleared Advisors” like him was “prohibited” from “publicly sharing our criticisms of concrete proposals and approaches.” He stated that only portions of the text had been provided “to be read under the watchful eye of a USTR official”, that access to a secure government-run website did not contain the most up-to-date information, and that, for the advisers removed to obtain this information, he had to “go to certain government institutions and register to read the material” and “then , it has even designated the administration what we can verify and what we cannot verify, and they often provide carefully republisted summaries instead of the underlying text that is essential to understanding the consequences of the agreement.  The World Bank has found that, if ratified by the signatories, the TPP could increase the average GDP of Member States by 1.1% by 2030.