October 19, 2015 8:32AM

The Free Trade Part of the TPP

David Nakamura of the Washington Post recently described the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) as an “expansive free trade and regulatory deal.” That’s a good way of putting it. There will be plenty to say on the regulatory side, particularly after the text of the agreement is released, and the two aspects will have to be weighed and balanced somehow, but for now let me emphasize some of the free trade side. USDA just released some explanations of the liberalization, related to 20 or so agricultural products, that the TPP partners will promise to grant to each other. Here are some randomly selected highlights:

  • “Under the TPP agreement, Vietnam will eliminate tariffs on all potatoes and potato products, currently as high as 34 percent, within six years. It will eliminate the 13‐​percent tariff on frozen French fries in four years.”
  • “The United States’ tariffs on peanuts and peanut products, currently as high as 163.8 percent, will be eliminated within 10 years.”
  • “Malaysia’s duties for wine, ranging from 7–108.50 Ringgits (approximately $2.08-$25.58) per liter will be eliminated in 16 years. For beer, Malaysia’s duties at 5 Ringgits (approximately $1.18) per liter will be eliminated in 16 years.”
  • “Japan’s tariffs on carrot juice, tomato paste, and tomato juice, currently ranging from 7.2–29.8 percent, will be eliminated in six years.”

Again, I don’t know yet how to weigh and balance everything in the TPP. But looked at on its own, the trade liberalization aspect of it could be pretty good (although a little slow to take effect in some cases).