The TPP is a sweeping trade agreement that aims to lower barriers to goods and services and set commercial rules of the road amongst 11 Asian countries (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam), representing two-fifths of the world’s economy. Representatives from the 12 countries originally arrived for a 2-day meeting, which has stretched into five. Nevertheless, it appears that the parties are close to reaching an agreement in principle before the end of the weekend. The Office of the United States Representatives has set up a “Ministerial Live Stream” from Atlanta, which will announce any agreement live.
The TPP includes a section on foreign direct investment, aiming to provide certain substantive legal protections for investors and investments of each TPP country in the other TPP countries, including provisions to ensure non-discrimination, a minimum standard of treatment, rules on expropriation, and prohibitions on specified performance requirements that distort trade and investment. The investment section will also set out an investor-State dispute settlement mechanism, subject, however, to certain limitations that protect the rights of TPP countries to issue regulations in the public interest, even though such regulation might adversely affect foreign investments.