Trade pact could have massive implications for Guam - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Trade pact could have massive implications for Guam

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After weeks of political maneuvering, Congress has passed - and the president is now set to sign - legislation that may finally clear the way for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. President Barack Obama would have the authority to push through what would be an historic trade agreement and the centerpiece of his new economic strategy to "Pivot to Asia."

By coincidence, the most recent meetings on the Transpacific Partnership were held right here in Guam, just last month. Details of the pact, which the countries have been negotiating for years, have not been released to the public, but Bank of Guam economist Joe Bradley says there are inherent benefits to trade agreements of this magnitude. He said, "From an economist's perspective, each producer should produce what they're best at producing, which we don't always do because of tariffs, and quotas and other restraints on trade."

Bradley says Guam might benefit simply because of our location, which effectively extends the US border all the way out to the Western Pacific, and within Asian time zones. He says we would do well to promote Guam as a source of American services to the region, and also as a pre-positional point for goods that will be exported to Asia.

Said Bradley, "Combined with that set up a telemarketing industry here to sell those goods. Again, daylight hours we have probably every language in the world spoken here. So there'd be opportunities in that as well, combining those two with our enormous telecommunications capacity."

Then there is the overall impact of such an agreement. According to the US Trade Representative's website, the twelve-member nations of the pact represent almost 40% of all global trade. "Anytime you can improve trade in this region, any time you can enhance standards of living, particularly in the Pacific Rim nations. They're the sources of our visitors. And you raise their levels of income, you raise our arrivals and their expenditures while they're here," he added.

But the TPP is by no means a done deal. Even if the US reaches agreement with the other members, the final pact will still be subject to an up-or-down vote by Congress. But if it does pass, Bradley is confident the net effect for Guam will be positive, projecting, "It could be substantial. In this case I would choose the word significant, which hedges my bets a little bit."

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