Fracassaram as mais recentes negociações acerca da Parceria Trans-Pacífico (TPP, sigla em inglês) — um acordo de livre comércio que envolve Ásia e Américas — que ocorreram em Honolulu, Estados Unidos, na semana passada. A rodada de negociação foi interrompida após quatro dias de conversas sem que houvesse um acordo final e tampouco marcou-se a data da próxima. O governo estadunidense esperava concluir o acordo o quanto antes para usufruir da Fast Track Authority que lhe foi conferida pelo Congresso. Porém, questiona-se a viabilidade de aprovação da TPP ainda durante o mandato de Barack Obama, que se encerra no início de 2017.
Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães argumenta que um eventual acordo União Européia/Mercosul seria o início do fim do Mercosul e o fim da possibilidade de desenvolvimento autônomo e soberano brasileiro e do objetivo estratégico brasileiro de construir um bloco econômico e político na América do Sul, próspero, democrático e soberano.
Negociações do acordo de livre comércio da Parceria Trans-Pacífico (TPP) entre representantes do Japão e dos Estados Unidos permanecem em impasse. Principais pontos de controvérsia são a liberalização de indústria automobilística, carnes e arroz. Ainda assim, as diferenças parecem estar diminuindo gradualmente.
Negociações do acordo de livre comércio da Parceria Trans-Pacífico (TPP) entre representantes do Japão e dos Estados Unidos terminaram em impasse na última quinta-feira (10/04) em Tóquio. Principais pontos de controvérsia são a liberalização de indústria automobilística, carnes e arroz.
Ministros dos 12 países que negociam o acordo de livre comércio da Parceria Trans-Pacífico (TPP) disseram que ainda há muitas divergências quanto a tarifas e matérias de acesso a mercados. Acordo parece ficar cada vez mais distante.
Gordon Lafer chama atenção para as implicações antidemocráticas da Parceria Trans-Pacífico (TPP, sigla em inglês). Negociações são conduzidas a portas fechadas e lobby de empresas multinacionais tenta alterar regulamentações que já são rígidas nas leis nacionais de cada um dos países. Além disso, após o TPP entrar em vigor, por exemplo, empresas poderiam processar Estados-membros em tribunal internacional de instância única quando estes adotassem medidas trabalhistas ou ambientais mais rigorosas.
Governo Obama enfrenta resistências de diversos países nas negociações da área de livre comércio da Parceria Trans-Pacífico (TPP), especialmente em se tratando de proteções ambientais. Por isso, parece que está havendo um recuo dos EUA nas exigências de forte proteção ambiental – tudo para que a TPP se concretize rapidamente.
Além de resistências apresentadas por países que negociam a área de livre comércio da Parceria Trans-Pacífico (TPP), o governo Obama enfrenta forte oposição interna em sua própria base no Congresso. Governo dos EUA talvez tenha de contar com a oposição, o Partido Republicano, para aprovar o acordo.
Os Estados Unidos e outros 11 países anunciaram que não conseguirão terminar o acordo para a Parceria Trans-Pacífico (TPP) até o fim do ano.
No Pacific Rim Accord by End-of-Year Target, Trade Negotiators Say
The New York Times – 10/12/2013 – por Annie Lowrey
The United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations said they would not complete a sweeping deal to reduce trade barriers by their own end-of-year deadline.
But participants in the latest talks, held in Singapore, expressed optimism about the prospects for the trade deal, one of the largest ever negotiated. The 12 ministers working on the Trans-Pacific Partnership said they had found potential “landing zones” for many of the remaining disagreements, which involve intellectual property and agricultural products, among other issues.
A strong deal “is critical for creating jobs and promoting growth, providing opportunity for our citizens and contributing to regional integration and the strengthening of the multilateral trading system,” the ministers said on Tuesday in a statement. “We have decided to continue our intensive work.”
Speaking with reporters after the Singapore talks, Michael B. Froman, the United States trade representative, said that the meeting had ended with “great momentum.”
He added, “We’re now focused on building that momentum with the direction given by the ministers on the landing zones.”
No formal deadline has been set for the Pacific Rim trade deal. Ministers involved in negotiations said they intended to continue talks into next year.
As the negotiators try to complete a deal, its supporters and opponents in Washington are waging intense lobbying campaigns. Much of the opposition comes from consumer, environmental and labor groups who argue that the deal might end up gutting American regulations, giving corporations too much power and moving jobs offshore.
“We’re tired of losing jobs,” said Leo W. Gerard, the president of the United Steelworkers union, in a call with reporters. “We’re tired of trade agreements that end up with net job loss. Our members our fed up with this. The public is fed up with this.”
Mr. Gerard said: “The politicians keep telling us the same song and dance that turns out not to be the truth. We’ve lost five million manufacturing jobs. The public gets it, and the politicians don’t.”
Some members of Congress have also expressed skepticism about such an agreement. The failure to complete the deal in Singapore “makes clear the administration is far from reaching an agreement with other countries,” Representative Rosa L. DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, told reporters. “It is far from reaching a deal that the Congress can support.”
But many businesses and business lobbying groups have pushed hard for an agreement, arguing it would open markets and create American jobs. “America’s business leaders commend this significant progress and urge the expeditious conclusion of an ambitious and comprehensive T.P.P. agreement, which will help create economic opportunities with the dynamic Asia-Pacific region and support U.S. growth and jobs,” said John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable.
In public and in private conversations, officials involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks have maintained optimism that a deal might come to fruition, and emphasized their intention to see it through. But a document published this week by WikiLeaks indicates that there might be more rifts behind the scenes than they have let on, showing many areas of disagreement as of November.
One passage details complaints about an American provision on investor-state dispute settlements, for instance. “The United States, as in previous rounds, has shown no flexibility on its proposal, being one of the most significant barriers to closing the chapter, since under the concept of Investment Agreement nearly all significant contracts that can be made between a state and a foreign investor are included,” the document said.
A spokeswoman for the United States trade representative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the documents contained outdated and inaccurate information.
“I haven’t seen the leaks,” Mr. Froman said in an interview with CNBC. “All I can say is we’ve been working very collegially.”
Nevertheless, the documents gave new fuel to the trade deal’s opponents. “The negotiators’ political imperative to make a deal — any deal — resulted in a raft of dangerous decisions that would severely threaten consumers’ access to affordable medicines, undermine Internet freedom and empower corporations to attack our domestic laws,” said Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.
The trade deal has equally ardent supporters in the White House and elsewhere in Washington, many of whom said they did not see the delay in Singapore as a sign of failure.
“The significant progress made in Singapore by T.P.P. ministers is welcome news for our nation’s farmers, ranchers, workers and families who stand to gain from the growth and opportunity a successful Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement will bring to America,” said Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat. “Above all, our negotiators have shown they are committed to an ambitious and comprehensive outcome. I look forward to their delivering on that commitment.”
The trade pact faces one challenge from Congress before it is even completed. Legislators are debating whether to give the Obama administration fast-track authority, which many trade watchers consider a prerequisite for a deal’s eventual passage. Such authority would prevent the deal from being subject to a filibuster or amendment in Congress.
But Congressional Republicans and Democrats have indicated that they might oppose such authority, and aides said it would not come up for a vote this year.
The announcement about the Singapore talks was made only days after the member countries of the World Trade Organization made their first- multilateral agreement in the group’s two-decade history.
The agreement, in essence, facilitates trade by reducing red tape. Business groups have widely applauded it.
The Pacific talks would reduce barriers to trade. The deal would cover a huge swath of the globe, nearly a billion people from New Zealand north through Asia, through Canada and the United States and down through Mexico to Chile. Other countries involved include Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Peru.
The United States is also at work with a sweeping trade deal with the European Union.
Taiwan não teria pedido para aderir à TPP (Parceria Trans-Pacífico), cujas negociações devem terminar no final deste ano.
Taiwan has not asked to join TPP: US forum told
Taipei Times – 07/12/2013 – por Shih Hsiu-chuan
A US academic from the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) told a forum on Thursday that Taiwan has not requested membership of the emerging Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), negotiations of which are expected to be concluded by the end of this year.
“It’s just chronologically Taiwan has not requested [TPP] membership,” CSIS adviser Scott Miller said in response to a question about what objections there were to including Taiwan in TPP during a question-and-answer session at the forum.
CSIS organized the event with US Congressmen Charles Boustany of Louisiana and David Reichert of Washington to discuss what the TPP will mean for the US economy, and the US Congress’ priorities as the negotiations progress.
Boustany said he agreed with Miller because his understanding was also that Taiwan has not made a request to be a party to the TPP at this point.
Not long after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) started his second term last year, he said that Taiwan would try to join the TPP within eight years.
“There is always an issue of readiness,” Miller told the audience in answer to the question. “As New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser once said: TPP has a dress code and you got to be ready and willing to [comply with the] dress code [policy] to be part of the agreement… So the high standard is a factor, but to this point, it’s just chronologically Taiwan has not requested membership.”
The TPP process requires all 12 existing parties to agree to the addition of a new member and the US is just one of them, Miller said.
After the forum, when asked if the US would be willing to incorporate Taiwan into TPP after it meets the high standards, even if China opposes it, Boustany said that politics always play a part, but the US wants to establish trade deals with every nation and rules for a global trading system.
“If Taiwan expresses its interests, we will see how it goes. Our goal is to expand [markets] in Asia, with all potential agreements including Taiwan, China, anybody who wants to join, but they have to meet the trade standards,” Boustany said.
Amplo acordo não foi atingido pelas negociações da reunião de cúpula para tratar de comércio na Parceria Trans-Pacífico (TPP) nesta terça-feira. Um comunicado foi publicado dizendo que os países se comprometem a lidar com os assuntos não resolvidos para que as negociações terminem até o fim de 2013.
TPP talks end without agreement
The Japan News – 10/10/2013 – por Takahiro Tsujimoto e Yoshihisa Mizukami
Negotiations failed to reach a broad agreement at the summit meeting of the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral trade talks held on Tuesday, although they issued a statement saying they were committed to tackling the unresolved issues to conclude the talks by the end of this year.
Aimed at becoming “a model of trade agreement in the 21st century,” the TPP talks cover a broad range of fields, even encompassing those areas not included in a conventional economic partnership accord. The participating countries are therefore having a harder time in reaching any compromise as conflicting interests occur again and again.
Highest-standards among pacts
One of the key factors making negotiations difficult lies in the framework, itself. In addition to the issue of trade liberalization through the removal of tariffs, the TPP talks cover areas not covered by the Doha Round multilateral trade talks under the auspices of the World Trade Organization, such as formulating rules to eliminate inhumane working conditions.
It is because the participating countries are aiming to reach, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has put it, a trade agreement with the “highest-standards” ever reached.
However, as the areas of negotiations are broad, it has become more difficult for member countries to compromise.
The United States is pressing for preferential treatment given to state-owned enterprises in Vietnam and Malaysia to be abolished, while at the same time pressuring Malaysia to do away with the so-called Bumiputera policy, which is designed to give favorable treatment to Malays and other indigenous peoples in Malaysia. The United States also aims to help U.S. businesses expand in Asia by calling for the realization of competitive equality among both foreign businesses and state-run business enterprises in these Asian countries.
Both Brunei and Vietnam strongly oppose such calls as they involve the basis of their national policy. Brunei has a large number of royal family-linked business entities, while state-owned enterprises account for 30 percent of Vietnam’s gross domestic product.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, with the safeguarding of the country’s Bumiputera policy in mind, stressed that, “Those issues related to sovereignty will be discussed with prudence.”
Misreading the signs
Once participating in the TPP trade framework, countries will be able to export their goods and services customs-free to the United States, the world’s largest economy. Newly emerging economies, such as Vietnam, have participated in TPP negotiations with the hope that taking part can help them enhance their appeal as a place in which to invest and gain a competitive advantage over neighboring countries by wooing foreign manufacturers to operate in their countries.
On the other hand, the United States, while sticking to a policy of having the TPP member countries reach a broad agreement by the end of the year, has maintained a stance of thoroughly prying open the markets of its trading partners in exchange for opening its market to emerging economies.
In its negotiations over a free-trade agreement with Singapore, a small market with which the United States could not expect much in trade, the United States did not slacken its pressure on Singapore to have its financial services market opened to U.S. banking institutions.
It seems newly emerging economies may have misread the United States and are surprised that it would come across as so stubborn.
The fact that U.S. President Barack Obama has not obtained the trade promotion authority from Congress is influencing TPP negotiations.
The TPA is the authority of the president to negotiate a trade agreement with a foreign country, which Congress can approve or disapprove but cannot amend or filibuster. As it will become more likely for Congress to approve the international agreements, it will be easier for the U.S. government to negotiate with other countries flexibly.
Emerging countries are wary that even if they reach agreements after making concessions to the United States, there is a possibility the U.S. Congress will reject the accords.
As have been symbolized by the Doha Round, or the talks on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, negotiations on formulating common rules between emerging economies and industrialized countries have often run into snags due to conflicts of interest. There is concern emerging that the TPP negotiations may face such difficulties, too.
Além do cancelamento da viagem de Obama à Ásia, outros fatores impedem que os Estados Unidos se foque na região Ásia-Pacífico, como, por exemplo, o corte no orçamento de defesa e a situação no Oriente Médio. Uma análise de David J. Karl.
The Pivot Under Pressure
The Diplomat – 08/10/2013 – por David J. Karl
Senior U.S. administration officials have been at pains in recent weeks to demonstrate how Washington’s strategic focus is shifting from the military quagmires of the greater Middle East to the dynamism of Asia. It’s a tough sell, and there is reason to doubt that America’s allies and friends in the region are buying it.
Even before the cancellation of President Barack Obama’s Asia trip, which would have included the APEC and East Asia summits, doubts about U.S. focus were rising. Take Obama’s address before the UN General Assembly earlier this month. Its core takeaway is that the manifold problems of the Middle East have once more re-asserted their claim on Washington’s attention.
Unveiled with much fanfare (here and here) two years ago, the so-called Asia pivot is all about shoring up the U.S. presence in a vital region that is increasingly under the sway of an ascendant China. Obama dubbed himself “America’s first Pacific president” and declared that Asia is where “the action’s going to be.” Vowing that the future would be “America’s Pacific Century,” his lieutenants rolled out two specific initiatives: 1.) A buildup of military forces that is plainly directed against China; and 2.) An ambitious set of trade and investment negotiations known as the “Trans-Pacific Partnership” (TPP) that would contest Beijing’s economic hegemony in East Asia.
But the pivot – or the “strategic rebalance,” as administration officials now prefer to call it – was birthed with two congenital defects: It was unveiled just as the convulsions of the Arab Spring began tearing apart the decades-old political order in the Middle East, and just as an era of severe austerity in U.S. defense budgeting was taking shape.
Until a few weeks ago, Obama gave every appearance of a man wishing the problems of the Middle East would just go away. But much like the Glenn Close character in Fatal Attraction, the region refuses to be ignored. For all the talk about turning the page on years of military and diplomatic activism in the region, Obama keeps having to take notice. Indeed, he was forcefully reminded of its combustibility when the outbreak of fighting in Gaza between Israel and Palestinian militants intruded on his last trip to Asia a year ago. And despite his stubborn determination to steer clear of it, he now finds himself sucked into Syria’s maelstrom.
The president’s General Assembly address underscores the power of this gravitational pull. In it, Mr. Obama affirmed: “We will be engaged in the region for the long haul,” and outlined the security interests that he is prepared to use military action to protect. He reiterated his intention to see through the uncertain prospect of Syria’s chemical disarmament and then staked his prestige on two long-shot projects: stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program and brokering an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord.
He also pledged renewed focus on sectarian conflicts and humanitarian tragedies like the Syrian civil war. This marks quite an evolution in Obama’s thinking from earlier in the year when he justified his Hamlet-like ambivalence on Syria by pondering: “And how do I weigh tens of thousands who’ve been killed in Syria versus the tens of thousands who are currently being killed in the Congo?”
In all, Obama’s remarks last month mark a noticeable change in his foreign policy agenda. As the New York Times noted:
“For a president who has sought to refocus American foreign policy on Asia, it was a significant concession that the Middle East is likely to remain a major preoccupation for the rest of his term, if not that of his successor. Mr. Obama mentioned Asia only once, as an exemplar of the kind of economic development that has eluded the Arab world.”
This shift will only renew the multiplying doubts in the region about his commitment to the pivot. So too will the fiscal policy drama currently being played out in Washington, which regardless of its precise outcome, looks certain to end up codifying the sequestration’s deep budget cuts that have disproportionally affected defense spending. Already the drama in Washington has prompted him to cancel his Asia visit. Meanwhile, many in Asia are questioning whether the administration has the fiscal wherewithal to undertake its promised Asia pivot, including the military aspect.
The budget squeeze is already cutting into military readiness (see, for example, here and here). The U.S. Navy is slated to play a central part in the buildup, but two thirds of its non-deployed ships and aviation units reportedly don’t meet readiness goals, and the frequency of naval deployments has been noticeably pared back. The Air Force has grounded a third of its fighter squadrons and “Red Flag,” its premier combat training exercise, was canceled for the fiscal year that just ended. Deep reductions in Army and Marine Corps ground forces are in the offing, and joint exercises involving U.S. forces and their Asian counterparts have been scaled back.
Moreover, a senior officer working on strategic planning for the Pentagon’s Joint Staff recently acknowledged the difficulty of militarily disengaging from the Middle East and re-directing forces to Asia. As Defense News reported:
“‘We’ve been consumed by that arc of instability from Morocco to Pakistan for the last 10 years,’ Rear Adm. Robert Thomas said. And while the senior staffs at the Pentagon are dutifully discussing how they are rebalancing to the Pacific, ‘I suspect, though, for the next five years, just as the last 10 years, we will have this constant pull into the’ Middle East.”
“Over the next several years, he continued, ‘I think that you’re going to continue to talk about a rebalance to Asia, and you’re going to do some preparatory work in the environment, but the lion’s share of the emphasis will still be in that arc of instability.’”
Thomas also predicted a constant tug for resources between the U.S. military commands responsible for Asia and the Middle East. This strain may explain why the Pentagon has yet to develop a comprehensive game plan for the military buildup in Asia.
Likewise in doubt is U.S. resolve on the TTP, which involves 12 Pacific Rim countries that together account for a third of the world’s trade. The Obama administration, having already missed the initial November 2011 deadline it set for completion, was hoping to have a basic agreement in place in time for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit that convened in Indonesia on the weekend. But there has been slow progress in the negotiations, and even the revised deadline looks likely to slip.
Moreover, the White House has not even moved to formally request so-called “trade promotion authority,” a traditional indicator of serious intent because it puts trade deals on a quick path to Congressional approval. The administration announced more than a year ago that it would request this authority from Congress but Michael Froman, the new U.S. Trade Representative, recently stated there is “no particular deadline in mind.” Nor has the White House used its political capital to address rising domestic opposition (here and here) to the trade deal.
Washington will continue to proclaim the Obama administration’s steadfastness to the Asia pivot. But U.S. allies and friends now have even more reason to think otherwise.