"The economic and strategic architectures of Asia are evolving. One part of this evolving architecture is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a free trade agreement [FTA] that includes nations on both sides of the Pacific. The existing TPP, which originally came into effect in 2006, consists of Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore. The United States, Australia, Peru, and Vietnam have committed themselves to joining and expanding this group. […] China's rapidly expanding economy and Japan's developed economy have made them attractive trading partners to many Asian nations. Many regional states also view the United States as having been distracted by events in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years. This has led some to increasingly look to China and Japan as key partners. China's approach to the region has also shifted dramatically in recent decades as it now pursues its interests with the region in a relatively accommodative manner. U.S. participation in the TPP would involve the negotiation of FTAs with New Zealand, Brunei, and, potentially, Vietnam. The United States currently has FTAs in force with Chile, Singapore, Australia, and Peru. Bilateral negotiations with New Zealand may focus on agricultural goods such as beef and dairy products. The possible inclusion of Vietnam may prove controversial from the standpoint of certain U.S. industry groups, such as textiles and apparel, as well as those concerned with labor, human rights and intellectual property issues. The involvement of Vietnam could add a higher level of difficulty, yet is illustrative of the challenges associated with developing a truly Asia-Pacific-wide trade grouping."
CRS Report for Congress, R40502