A years-long process to ease trading between 12 Pacific nations is closer to being finalized, as negotiators have apparently cleared hurdles on how to handle everything from dairy products and drug patents to car factories.
Officials from the U.S., Japan, and 10 other nations have been negotiating final details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for several days, meeting in Atlanta in an effort to push through a final framework for a trade agreement that has set off political divisions in the U.S.
A news conference is slated for 9 a.m. ET; we'll update this post with details from that event.
The sweeping trade deal would cover roughly 40 percent of the world's economic output, reducing or eliminating tariffs, setting standards on some patents and work conditions, and easing the way for investments between countries.
Here's the list of countries the TPP would include: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the United States, Singapore and Vietnam.
If it's enacted, the deal would be the largest free trade agreement the U.S. is a party to – but it has an array of opponents, both in Congress, which would have to ratify it, and in other countries.
Summarizing some of the resistance to the deal, NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben reported earlier this year that leaked portions of the TPP "have intellectual property advocates, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, worried it goes too far in areas like extending copyright laws and fair use rules. Doctors Without Borders has also argued the deal could make for more expensive generic drugs, restricting access to medicine for some consumers. However, some wish the pact went further — environmental groups like the Sierra Club, for example, believe the provisions won't do enough to address overfishing."
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