Alice Gerow


The Trans-Pacific Partnership is on its way to becoming the largest trade deal ever made and proposes to write the rules for global trade. The TPP includes several novelties in trade negotiation such as a chapter specifically interested in issues surrounding development. This paper offers a content-based analysis of the TPP’s Development chapter to gauge the value of this symbolic addition. In order to make this assessment, the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development, the intergovernmental organization responsible for assisting developing nations in the negotiation of trade deals, serves as a reference point for the representation of developing nations’ interests and the agenda for international development. Our first finding is that the Development chapter is not inconsistent with the UNCTAD’s charter, but is too imprecise to represent an effective negotiation tool for the benefit of the TPP’s developing members. Extending beyond the Development chapter, our second finding is that other chapters in the TPP, such as the Intellectual Property chapter and the Investment chapter, paradoxically present clear obstructions to developmental national policies, so that the TPP needs to be reworked to provide more negotiation power and preferential treatment to its developing members in order to base future trade deals on a more level footing and go beyond the standards enacted by former mega-regional trade deals.



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