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Ambassador Froman Gives Remarks on the TPP at Stanford University, Unveils Report on Groundbreaking Digital Economy Benefits

February 16, 2016

President’s chief trade adviser underscored the economic and foreign policy strongpoints of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s economic and foreign policy agenda, and released a new report on the unprecedented digital economy provisions in the agreement.

The event was hosted by the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), the U.S.-Asia Security Initiative, the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC), and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

Stanford, CAU.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, America’s lead official for international trade and a member of the President’s cabinet, came to Stanford University to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a new, high-standard trade agreement recently signed by the United States that gains the American people unprecedented access to the economies of 11 other countries across the Asia-Pacific region.   

In his final State of the Union address last month, President Obama urged Congress to pass the TPP, saying that the agreement will “open markets, and protect workers and the environment, and advance American leadership in Asia.”

During his remarks, Ambassador Froman highlighted the economic benefits that the TPP promises for California and the entire country by cutting over 18,000 different taxes that other countries place on Made-in-America exports, as well as released a new report detailing the unprecedented provisions for the digital economy and tech community in the deal.

“TPP is the first trade agreement that requires countries to commit to policies that promote an internet that remains open and free – in alignment with the economic interest of the United States and the democratic values of free speech and expression,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. “TPP promotes the free flow of data across borders and prohibits forced localization of server capacity, prevents forced tech transfer and includes provisions to combat the theft of trade secrets, and requires countries to adopt and maintain enforceable consumer protections, including for privacy.”

“In today’s rapidly globalizing world, the alternative to TPP is not the status quo,” continued Ambassador Froman. “The status quo cannot hold, and rather than TPP’s high standards, other nations are already putting forward alternative, more mercantilist visions for trade and investment that do not represent our interests or values. This means that from a geostrategic standpoint, smart trade agreements like the TPP are how we shape globalization in the right way.”

To view this new report, “The Digital 2 Dozen,” please click here.

Ambassador Froman also covered the geostrategic and foreign policy merits of the TPP, which will not only enhance America’s leadership in Asia, but will also allow the United States to help shape the economic rules of the road across the region in areas ranging from keeping the internet free and open to protecting fundamental labor rights and the environment to preventing intellectual property theft affecting U.S. inventions.

Ambassador Froman was introduced by Professor Michael McFaul, Director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and former U.S. Ambassador to Russia.

“FSI and APARC were delighted to host former colleague and friend, Ambassador Michael Froman, to discuss one of the most important new trade agreements in decades, the TPP,” said FSI Director and former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul. “As lead negotiator of this complex agreement, no one was better suited to speak on the TPP than Mike. With several major research programs underway studying relations between the United States and Asia, our FSI community benefited greatly from Mike's visit today.”

Afterwards Ambassador Froman and Karl Eikenberry, Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, held in armchair discussion and Q&A with the audience.

“The TPP is central to America maintaining its positive influence and leadership in the most economically vibrant region of the world,” noted director of the U.S.-Asia Security Initiative at Shorenstein APARC, and former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry. “Ambassador Froman did a terrific job here at Stanford University explaining why this is so.”

Background on the TPP

The TPP is a major trade agreement and a centerpiece of President Obama’s economic agenda which will gain Americans unprecedented access to the Asia-Pacific by cutting over 18,000 taxes various countries put on Made-in-America products.  The deal will also level the playing field for American workers and businesses by setting high-standard rules across the region, including groundbreaking protections for intellectual property, labor rights, a free and open internet, and many other areas.

For a Commerce Department fact sheet on how the TPP will benefit California, please click here.

For a White House fact sheet on the TPP please click here.