The P4, formally the "Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement", is a so-called free trade agreement betweeen the four Pacific governments of Brunei Darussalam, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. It was previously dubbed the P3 until Brunei was incorporated into the negotiating process. It was signed on 3 June 2005 and came into force on 1 January 2006.
In September 2008, the US Trade Representative announced that the US will negotiate entry into the P4 agreement, tentatively starting in March 2009. In November 2008, the governments of Australia, Peru and Vietnam announced their inclusion as well, while the Chilean and US governments have lobbied the Korean government to also join. This raises the spectre of any "P4+" deal, now dubbed a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP), evolving into a potentially APEC-wide, comprehensive free trade agreement, which the Obama administration confirmed [International Trade Daily, 5 March 2009]. Japan and the Philippines are also potential members of the TPP.
There have been mobilizations in several countries against the agreement, including in New Zealand, the US, and Japan, where, in the latter case, resistance to the agreement has been widespread, particularly among farmers. New Zealand campaigners have warned that the US proposal for the TPP’s intellectual property provisions go much further than the WTO TRIPs or the US-Korea FTA threatening Maori culture and traditional knowledge, regulations on genetic modification and access to affordable medicines.
Leaked drafts of the agreement are available here: http://www.bilaterals.org/spip.php?rubrique55.
last update: May 2012
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