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TPP Agreement Made Public, Notified to Congress

Date: 11/11/15

On November 5 President Obama formally notified Congress of his intention to sign the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.  This triggered a 90-day layover period for Congress to review the agreement before it can be signed, the earliest date for which will be February 3.

Administration officials have expressed an interest in having Congress vote on the TPP implementing legislation as soon as possible, which most likely would be next spring at the earliest.  However, it is possible the vote may be deferred until next year’s lame duck session or even later.

Also on November 5, the TPP countries made public the text of the TPP agreement (the legal scrub of the agreement is not yet complete, but the key provisions of interest to SFIA members will not change substantively from what was published).  The full text of the agreement can be accessed at https://medium.com/the-trans-pacific-partnership, including each countries’ product-by-product schedule for eliminating tariffs on intra-region trade (listed at the end of Chapter 2: National Treatment and Market Access for Goods).

As reported, the TPP will result in the full elimination of duties on all sports equipment, footwear and apparel traded within the region.  Examples range from the immediate elimination of the United States’ 4.4 percent duty on golf clubs to Australia’s 5.0 percent duty on exercise equipment to Vietnam’s 5.0 percent duty on nearly all categories of sports equipment.

Regarding apparel and footwear, an aspect of the negotiations that was not closed out until the waning days of the negotiations, SFIA is in the process of studying the details of the final text to assess what new trade opportunities the TPP will afford.  For apparel, as expected, the agreement requires a “yarn forward” rule of origin meaning the product must incorporate yarn and fabric from the region.  There are exceptions to this requirement including, in particular, a short supply list allowing additional flexibilities for 194 products.

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