The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is a trade agreement between twelve countries, including China, Japan, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, and Peru. This agreement, if ratified, would eliminate almost all trade barriers between these twelve countries, uniting them in the largest free-trade zone in world history. The problem is, it doesn't seem to be getting approved anytime soon; talks that occurred just last week in Singapore ended with the countries reaching no finalized agreement that would put the TPP into effect. As the partnership has been undergoing negotiation talks for years, it is wondered how much longer it will take for the countries to cooperate on certain final issues and establish the partnership.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, if agreed on and put into effect by all of the countries involved, could be a great boon to the world economy. The countries involved in the TPP contribute to 40% of the global economy's output. As a result, the TPP, along with another agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, could increase the world's overall annual output by $600 billion. The countries involved also make up 30% of global trade. Disposing of their trade barriers and uniting them would lead to freer international trade, which could pave way to benefits such as reduced costs in several economic sectors, including banking, health care, and education. The U.S. would also be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the deal, as they would make about $200 billion of the global output, end up with many new export markets, and have several new jobs.

It is clear to the countries involved how know how beneficial this deal could be to their economies; now the issue is reaching the deal itself. While the countries claim to have made major progress in reaching a deal in the talks last week, especially in agreements in the services and telecommunications industries, many issues of contention still remain. Japan and the U.S. in particular are not agreeing in terms of trade barriers on certain industries. The U.S. wishes to have full access to trade its agricultural goods freely in Japan; however, Japan refuses to remove the trade barrier for the U.S. for the sake of protecting its agricultural industry at home. A similar situation is also happening with the countries' automotive industries. The U.S. wishes Japan to remove trade barriers on the sale of U.S. cars in Japan, however the U.S. is also unwilling to remove its own tariffs on Japanese cars. More issues are also happening between Canada and the U.S. concerning their agriculture and services industries and their trade barriers. On top of that, controversies on the TPP from outside parties are also helping delay ratification. For example, putting the TPP into effect would institutionalize enforcements of patents and copyrights, which many say would be detrimental to access to affordable medicine.

The issue at hand now is when the twelve countries will now be able to hold the finalizing talks for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The goal was to have negotiations completed last year and a deal reached by this year. Last week's talks ended without a definite date for another gathering, leaving uncertainty as to when the deal will finally be put into effect. When do you think the twelve countries will settle their issues and finally unite in this deal?

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