October 31, 2018 | By Dina Smeltz

FOMO: Many Americans Want to Join the Revised TPP Agreement

Australia become the sixth country to ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) this week, following ratification from Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, Japan and Mexico. With Australia’s ratification, the agreement will enter into force on December 30, 2018. The revised agreement was formed among 11 Pacific nations when Trump withdrew the United States from the original Trans-Pacific Partnership; original TPP negotiating members Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, and Vietnam have yet to officially ratify the new CPTPP agreement.

The deal is being touted as the most important trade agreement reached in more than two decades, with the potential to remove tariffs on an estimated 95% of goods traded between member countries, which have a combined GDP of some $10 trillion. The deal also modernizes previous agreements to reflect the growth of digital trade, services and copyright issues.

President Trump pulled the United States out of the original negotiations last year. But a majority of Americans seem to wish he hadn’t done that. The 2018 Chicago Council Survey, conducted nearly a year after the US withdrew from the agreement, found that a majority of Americans (61%) believe the United States should participate in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trade agreement formed among 11 Pacific nations when Trump withdrew the United States from the original Trans-Pacific Partnership.

A majority of Democrats (76%) and Independents (60%) favor US participation, while Republicans are quite divided (49% oppose, 45% favor). Within the Republican party support, a majority of Republicans with a “very favorable” view of Donald Trump – Trump Republicans – oppose it (37% support, 57% oppose), while a slight majority of all other Republicans – non-Trump Republicans – favor the CPTPP (54% favor, 39% oppose).

In a separate question, a majority of GOP supporters prefer negotiating with one country at a time, which has been President Trump’s stated preference. By contrast, a majority of Democrats prefer negotiating with a group of countries – like the CPTPP negotiations – while Independents are divided between the two options.

For more on American public opinion and US foreign policy, check out the full 2018 Chicago Council Survey report, America Engaged.

About

Dina Smeltz joined The Chicago Council on Global Affairs in February 2012 as a senior fellow in public opinion and foreign policy, and directed the Council’s 2012 survey of American public opinion (see Foreign Policy in the New Millennium).  She has nearly 20 years of experience in designing and fielding international social, political and foreign policy surveys.

As the director of research in the Middle East and South Asia division (2001-2007) and analyst/director of the European division (1992-2004) in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the US State Department’s Office of Research, Dina conducted over a hundred surveys in these regions and regularly briefed senior government officials on key research findings. Her experience includes mass public and elite surveys as well as qualitative research.  She has written numerous policy-relevant reports on Arab, Muslim and South Asian regional attitudes toward political, economic, social and foreign policy issues.  Her writing also includes policy briefs and reports on the post-1989 political transitions in Central and Eastern Europe, and European attitudes toward a wide range foreign policy issues including globalization, European integration, immigration, NATO, and European security.

With a special emphasis research in post-conflict situations (informally referred to as a “combat pollster”), Dina has worked with research teams in Bosnia, Kosovo, Cyprus, Israel-Palestinian Territories and in Iraq (2003-2005), where she was one of the few people on the ground who could accurately report average Iraqis impressions of the postwar situation.  In the past three years, Dina has consulted for several NGOs and research organizations on projects spanning women’s development in Afghanistan, civil society in Egypt and evaluating voter education efforts in Iraq.

Dina has an MA from the University of Michigan and a BS from Pennsylvania State University.

Feel free to email Dina with comments or questions at dsmeltz@thechicagocouncil.org

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