Market Access for Goods in the TPP: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Overall, market access for goods is not quite as open as markets for services and investment in the provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). While most of the improvements for goods take effect immediately on the date of entry into force of the agreement, some sensitive goods have longer implementation schedules. While the overall agreement provides substantial benefits in goods, certain products require a more mixed assessment. By using product specific rules of origin (ROOs), TPP members have recognized merit in being meticulous about different rules for different goods in different sectors. Quality in market access across the agreement is mixed, with some sectors receiving duty-free treatment in short order and others subject to complicated requirements. Agriculture remains challenging, with tariff rate quotas (TRQs) in place for some members and certain products, and tariffs that remain high initially for other markets and products, and a tariff elimination schedule extending over longer than six years. While there are deviations like these from the “gold standard”, most of the goods provisions in the agreement come into effect immediately. The overall balance struck in the goods provisions is sufficiently in favour of a positive assessment, yet there is some tarnish on the gold.