Wary politicians are at odds with the general enthusiasm of businesses and consumers over ratification of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact that promises to boost economic growth, create wealth and add jobs in the 12 member countries and beyond, according to a snap poll conducted by Edelman.
“Since the agreement was announced, we have seen significant and often negative commentary around what the TPP means,” said Iain Twine, CEO of Edelman Southeast Asia and Australasia. “This reaction is driven by NGOs and populist politicians portraying the necessarily secret nature of the talks as underhanded, against consumer interests or a charter for big business. Given this, it has been assumed that people don’t want the TPP but this data reveals something very different.”
The online survey showed 69 percent of businesses and 67 percent of consumers from the TPP nations believe the trade pact will be beneficial to their own economies.
“Because each government is responsible for articulating the TPP to their nations and to ratifying within their parliaments, there are going to be multiple voices trying to push through or shut down the ratification process,” Twine said. “Our polling shows the TPP is an issue people care about. The politicians will have to take account of these views.”
Highlights from the polling, conducted by global research firm Edelman Berland, include:
- While 69 percent of businesses see benefits to their economies, those in Vietnam, the United States, Chile and Singapore lead the way with their enthusiasm. At 17 percent, businesses in Japan and New Zealand have the lowest belief about the benefits.
- 52 percent of businesses feel they are prepared for the TPP and 53 percent feel it will have a positive impact on jobs and employment.
- Businesses across the TPP nations feel “cross-border relationships” and “access to products and services” are the most positive aspects and that “rules and regulations” are the most negative.
- Awareness of the TPP across businesses is highest in New Zealand and Japan at 97 percent and lowest in Mexico at 66 percent.
- While 67 percent of consumers feel the TPP will be beneficial to the economy, only 47 percent feel it will benefit them and their families.
- 40 percent of consumers are worried about the impact on their jobs and employment, with Canadians the most concerned at 51 percent.
- U.S. consumers had the lowest awareness of the TPP at 40 percent, while Japan had the highest awareness at 95 percent.
- Malaysian consumers are the most skeptical of the TPP, with only 49 percent believing it will be beneficial for their economy. Vietnamese consumers are the most hopeful, with 96 percent believing the TPP will benefit their economy.
“Although the TPP has yet to be ratified, there is a broad consensus that it will happen in a year or so,” said Chadd McLisky, managing director of the Edelman Southeast Asia and Australasia Corporate practice. “Even if the pact is then slowly rolled out over the next 10 years, no one in any of the member markets can be complacent. Everyone must start to review their reputations and business methods right now. All member markets have different priorities but ultimately all companies are going to face significant new challenges in their marketing and business operations.”