After years of negotiations, the United States has reached a deal with 11 other nations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, The New York Times reports. The deal makes several, sweeping changes to international trade, and now faces what's certain to be a major debate in Congress.
Congress will have 90 days to review the deal
The deal, as the Times reports, creates uniform intellectual property rules and closes thousands of import tariffs, although its full text — some 30 chapters — won't be available for at least a month.
Long before now, the TPP has proven controversial. Groups have accused the deal of being made in secret, and of favoring big business interests. Web freedom activists have expressed particular concern over how the TPP would handle major changes to intellectually property laws, arguing that the deal effectively exports restrictive US copyright laws to a global audience. The Electronic Frontier Foundation called it "one of the worst global threats to the Internet" since the controversial ACTA.
The deal was reached after days of negotiations in Atlanta, with representatives from both the US and other countries involved in the pact: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. In total, the countries are responsible for about 40 percent of the world's economic output.
"Once negotiators have finalized the text of this partnership, Congress and the American people will have months to read every word before I sign it," President Obama said in a statement. "I look forward to working with lawmakers from both parties as they consider this agreement."
Before the TPP can be signed, Congress has 90 days to review it, during which arguments from both sides of the aisle are expected. As the presidential race heats up, the deal is certain to become a topic of conversation in upcoming debates.
Update, 10:27AM ET: Included White House statement on the deal.