President Obama’s Trip to Asia: Where the TPP Stands Now

President Obama arrived in Japan yesterday. One of the issues that has been highlighted in the media is what his trip to Asia will mean for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, which were supposed to conclude last year. Why is President Obama having such a hard time with the TPP? What needs to be done to get the TPP on track?

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Here are some of the challenges with the TPP:

1. Lack of fast-track authority or trade promotion authority (see earlier post explaining fast-track authority) – The US Congress has voted against giving President Obama the authority to negotiate trade deals while limiting the US Congress to only voting up or down on the agreement without any amendments.

2. Failure of the US and Japan to reach a deal on sensitive issues such as agriculture and auto market access – Both sides have been unable to reach deal that would be viewed as not harming their most important industries while still opening their markets to foreign trade.

3. Minimal support from the public due to the secrecy surrounding the negotiations – A number of grassroots organizations have been highly critical of the lack of participation from civil society in the trade talks. Rather, as they have argued, large multinational corporations are able to play an influential role in the trade talks while other groups are shut out of the process.


1. More transparency – The only way to get support is to be more open and transparent about this huge trade deal.

2. Improve the message – I have attended talks where discussions about the TPP focus on geopolitical strategies and security. These discussions are often led by government officials and academics who speak in a highly technical language and throw out a lot of statistics. From my observations of the events that I have attended this year, the small and medium-sized business owners and consumers who are impacted by trade deals are rarely present. The message should be framed in a clear, elegant way so that different groups are not just told, but shown how the TPP and any other trade deal will truly be beneficial to them. The lack of such a message is the reason why the negative rhetoric about the TPP prevails. People can relate to the emphasis on the loss of jobs and the closure of businesses because of an inability to compete. It is harder to personally relate to arguments that the TPP is a “pivot to Asia” or that the TPP is a part of U.S. foreign policy toward the Asian region.

It will be interesting to see how U.S. trade officials spin the outcome of President Obama’s trip in terms of progress with the TPP.

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What Do Emerging Markets Have to Do With the High Price of Beef in the US?

I often encourage U.S. business owners to consider the growing number of consumers with greater purchasing power in developing countries as an additional market for their goods and services. Well, the impact of consumer demand in emerging markets, such as China, Brazil and Mexico, illustrate the benefits to some U.S. agricultural sectors, as in the case of beef production.

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Check out CBS News contributor and analyst Mellody Hobson’s explanation of this trend on CBS This Morning, which aired today. Find out what this trend also means to U.S. consumers.

Usually, when I discuss the impact of international trade on consumers, I highlight the lower prices due to less costly imports. In the case of U.S. beef, the greater exports to countries with a high demand and the ability to purchase U.S. products have resulted in increased prices for U.S. beef consumers. At the same time, U.S. producers benefit from continuing to generate revenue and  eventually turn a profit from the high demand in emerging markets.

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Have You Thought About Going on a Trade Mission? The reasons why you should consider it

Today is the last day of Reverend Jesse Jackson’s trade mission to Japan. Sixteen African American business owners within the automobile industry, according to news reports, have been meeting with representatives from Toyota, Hyundai and Nissan. The goal is to identify future business opportunities for U.S. businesses, especially African American businesses along the automotive supply chain.

This trip is timely as the United States continues to forge a trade deal with Japan as a part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.

Why are trade missions important for U.S. business owners, including small and medium-sized companies? What do they need to know about these trade missions? I provide answers to these important questions.

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First of all, what is a trade mission?

A trade mission is one in which a delegation travels to another country to gather first-hand information about specific export markets. That knowledge is gained through meeting with potential business partners, such as company CEOs, buyers and distributors, in the particular countries.

These trade missions can be organized by U.S. Department of Commerce officials, state and local government officials, industry trade associations, universities and a business group.

Who goes on trade missions?

Government officials, business owners, private sector representatives

How much does a trade mission cost?

The prices vary per trip and based on the company size. Nevertheless, a trade mission can cost around $3,000 to $4,000.

How do I go on a trade mission?

You have to complete an application. The next application deadline for a trade mission organized by the U.S. Department of Commerce in June 20, 2014 (Click here for the application). The trade mission is for the safety and security industry representatives to travel to Panama and Colombia.

What are my options if I cannot afford to go on a trade mission?

Reverse Trade Missions (RTMs) – where you can meet government and business representatives from other markets that visit the United States  (Click here for a schedule of upcoming RTMs)

These trade missions save time, resources and money while allowing business owners to gather the proper information that they need before exporting to specific markets.

If you have been on a trade mission, please share your experience with us.

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Invitation for Guest Blog Posts

International Trade Examiner (ITE) invites its readers to become active participants in the content that appears on the blog. You will be able to offer your own perspective on issues relating to international trade. (ITE does not pay for guest blog posts.)


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As an invited expert, you will benefit by:

1. Sharing the platform with other experts,

2. Having your work reach ITE’s followers via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and e-mail combined, and

3. Engaging the community in issues pertaining to international trade.

Instructions for Guest Bloggers:

Word count: 250-600 words

Submission guidelines:

  • Microsoft Word document with the blog post
  • A brief bio of no more than 4 sentences
  • Photo/image (optional – must be the original photo or image created by the author and relates to the story)
  • E-mail your guest blog post to

All work must be the original ideas and research of the author. Any work or image that has been copied directly from another source without permission will not be accepted.

All articles must be relevant to the blog and well written. A piece that is well-written is one that:

  • Raises an interesting question
  • Explains why the question and information provided are important (i.e., passes the So what? question)
  • Presents sound evidence
  • Includes your own analysis of the data provided
  • Draws a clear conclusion based on the evidence presented
  • Written for either an academic, policymaking or business audience

Any piece that does not relate to international trade, consists of numerous spelling/grammatical errors, fails to provide facts to support an argument and includes disrespectful and foul language will not be considered for publication.

Related Topics (not limited to these topics):

  • How your business has been impacted by international trade
  •  Fair trade versus free trade
  • World Trade Organization
  • International trade’s impact on workers
  • Opportunities and challenges of free trade for consumers
  • Free trade agreements

If your piece is accepted, we will inform you via e-mail along with the expected publication date. (Note: Guest posts in which business owners discuss how they have been affected by international trade will also appear in the Global Research Institute of International Trade’s newsletter –

Thank you for your interest in contributing to ITE. I look forward to collaborating with you. You can contact me at with any questions and/or concerns.

Sarita Jackson, Founder

Note: You can read and bookmark these guidelines. Click here to save the link for guest bloggers.

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On Hiatus

Due to preparation for a conference and finalizing a research project, I will not add new posts this week. Blog posts will resume next week.

However, I do welcome any guest blog posts in the meantime. Click here for details.

Thank you.


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