IILJ Working Paper 2016/3 (MegaReg Series)

Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s Investment Chapter the New “Gold Standard”?

José E. Alvarez

Read PDFRead PDF
US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has answered the question posed by my title in two different ways. A few years ago, as US Secretary of State, she argued that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was the new “gold standard” in Free Trade Agreements or FTAs.1 Most recently, as presidential candidate attentive to US democratic primary voters, she has said that its final text reveals that it simply does not make US workers better off and that she opposes its ratification. The agreement, she now says, gives US workers something less than gold. Now it could be that Secretary Clinton has been talking about the TPP as a whole and not its investment chapter. But that is doubtful insofar as the investment chapter is far too integral to this agreement and more importantly to debates about the merits of the TPP. It is probably fair to say that Secretary Clinton has changed her mind about the TPP’s investment chapter. This contribution attempts to put her quandary in context.