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In 2005, New Zealand, Singapore, Chile and Brunei entered into a path-breaking free trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement which is also known as the P-4 Agreement. The agreement contains an open accession provision which explicitly contemplates the expansion of the agreement to include other countries willing to commit to its terms. The expansion of the agreement has important implications for the world trading system. Its broad coverage and open accession provision may suggest that the agreement has the potential to serve as a stepping stone in the path towards further multilateral trade liberalization in the WTO context. On the other hand, expanding the agreement could result in an agreement so powerful that its members no longer consider devoting energies to liberalizing in the WTO context to be of great importance. The article explores some of the unique aspects of the TPP as well as the potential implications of expanding the agreement, both for the East Asian region and for the broader multilateral trading system.

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Asian Journal of WTO & International Health Law and Policy

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