UC San Diego News Center


Representatives from Around Pacific Region Attend Free Trade Negotiations at School of International Relations and Pacific Studies

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade negotiations recently took place at UC San Diego‘s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS). At the meetings were representatives from countries in the Pacific region such as Vietnam, Brunei, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore.

“Through the TPP negotiations, we are trying to create a new ‘gold standard’ for the degree of access to foreign markets for U.S. exporters,” said Peter Cowhey, dean of the School for International Relations and Pacific Studies. “They cover everything from manufactured goods and services, such as cloud computing, to agriculture and intellectual property protection.”

The TPP, currently endorsed by U.S. President Barak Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, is a regional free trade agreement.  Through the TTP, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) negotiates directly with foreign governments to create trade agreements, resolves disputes and participates in global trade policy organizations.

“The TPP signifies the first time that the U.S. has attempted to reach a comprehensive trade agreement with a significant group of Asian and Latin American countries,” Cowhey said. “If successful, even more countries will join the agreement over time.  It opens export markets to U.S. firms in the countries where economic growth is booming. “

Cowhey, a former senior counselor to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, noted that these meetings signify the beginning of major strategy shift in the Obama administration to enhance market access throughout Asia for the U.S.

The Obama administration has been trying to grow the number of exports from the U.S. to ease the trade-deficit and help the economy—trade directly impacts nearly 25 percent of U.S. economic output, according to Cowhey.

The policies negotiated are expected to enhance trade and investment among the TPP partner countries. The next TPP meetings with all of the negotiators for all topics is scheduled for March 1 to 9in Melbourne, Australia.

IR/PS is a graduate school for international relations with a focus on the Pacific region. For more information on IR/PS go to, and to learn more about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, please visit