February 24, 2015

In the last two decades, the Asia Pacific region has signed sixty-five free trade agreements. South America, Eurasia, and Europe combined have signed over one-hundred and fifty agreements. Over the same period, the US has signed twelve agreements.

As President Obama aims to conclude negotiations over TPP and TTIP, he has argued that without new agreements the US will no longer "write the rules" of international trade. Although it remains the world's largest economy, the US relies on relatively old agreements compared to its competitors around the globe.

Congressional authorization of the President's power to bring negotiated agreements to an up-or-down vote, known as Trade Promotion Authority, last expired in 2007. Without TPA trade negotiations are virtually impossible to conclude, guaranteeing a widening gap between the US and the rest of the world in global trade.

* "Enter into force" refers to the process by which the agreement becomes legally binding on the parties to the treaty. The date of entry into force may often be at a specified time mentioned in the treaty following its ratification or accession by a fixed number of states.