MYTH: Since the U.S. already has free trade agreements with seven of the eleven other participants in TPP, the agreement does not provide any additional benefits.
REALITY: In addition to improving the FTAs negotiated earlier (see the Myth vs. Reality 9-29-16), TPP establishes improved trading obligations with Vietnam and Malaysia. More importantly, TPP provides important new obligations among all participants designed to promote the digital economy. The TPP provides for a free and open Internet that prohibits customs duties for digital products, combats discriminatory barriers to the free data flows, bars forced technology transfers, and promotes cooperation on cybersecurity among other digital data protections (see USTR fact sheet). If these agreements on the treatment of digital commerce are not codified by TPP, it leaves the way open for non-TPP participants to heavily influence decisions on how the digital economy will be treated. In an ever-increasing digital economy, this benefit is too big to ignore.