Negotiators agree on an ambitious trade deal, but opposition to its ratification is already fierce
DONALD TRUMP, an American presidential candidate, denounced it as "a terrible deal". Another, Hillary Clinton, does not think it meets "the high bar" that should be applied to trade pacts. Yet proponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which encompasses 12 countries in Asia and the Americas, including America and Japan, herald it as the biggest multilateral trade deal in 20 years, which will "define the rules of the road" for international commerce. Which is it?
TPP will apply to 40% of the world's economy. For American exporters alone, 18,000 individual tariffs will be reduced to zero. Much the same will be true for firms in the other 11 members. Even agricultural barriers, usually among the most heavily defended, will start to come down. Foreigners will gain a toehold in Canada's dairy sector and a bigger share of Japan's beef market, for example. Some of these reductions will be phased in lamentably slowly, however: American tariffs on Japanese lorries will last another 30 years.