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U.S., Pacific nations reach Trans-Pacific Partnership deal

By Andrew V. Pestano
U.S., Pacific nations reach Trans-Pacific Partnership deal
After nearly eight years of negotiations, the United States, Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim nations have reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership regional free trade agreement -- the largest in history. File photo by Kent Nishimura/UPI | License Photo

ATLANTA, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- The United States, Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim nations agreed Monday to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the largest regional free-trade agreement in history.

About 40 percent of the global economy could be tied together, potentially setting a precedent for worldwide commerce and worker standards, The New York Times reported. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, also known as TPP, will need to be approved in the United States by Congress.

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It took nearly eight years of negotiations, including five consecutive days of talks in Atlanta, before an agreement was reached.

The TPP would phase out thousands of import tariffs, establish uniform rules on corporations' intellectual property, open the availability of the Internet -- including to communist Vietnam -- and suppress wildlife trafficking and environmental abuses.

The deal would overhaul special tribunals that handle trade disputes between businesses and TPP member nations. The TPP would also prevent tobacco companies from suing countries that pass antismoking laws by excluding the companies from a new code of conduct that would govern lawyers selected for arbitration panels.

If approved, TPP countries would include Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico, Canada, Japan and the United States.

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The full 30-chapter text of the agreement would likely not be available for about a month. Critics of the TPP argue the agreement favors big business over the protection of workers and the environment.

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