Should Free Traders Support the Trans- Pacific Partnership? An Assessment of America’s Largest Preferential Trade Agreement

Whether free traders should support ratification of the TPP depends on whether, and to what extent, they wish to avoid making the perfect the enemy of the good. If free trade purity is the benchmark, then the TPP fails the test. But what if the deal includes more trade liberalization than protectionism and can be deemed net liberalizing? Should that be enough? Does it depend on specific provisions in specific chapters?

This paper presents a chapter-by-chapter analysis of the TPP from a free trader’s perspective.1 Brief summaries, assessments, scores on a scale of 0 (protectionist) to 10 (free trade), and scoring rationales are provided for each evaluated chapter. Of the 22 chapters analyzed, we found 15 to be liberalizing (scores above 5), 5 to be protectionist (scores below 5), and 2 to be neutral (scores of 5). Considered as a whole, the terms of the TPP are net liberalizing.

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