Capacity Building for Development in TPP Countries

June 24, 2016

Submitted by Elisa Eap, on behalf of Fontheim International, LLC

On May 25th, 2016, the Alliance to End Hunger, in partnership with the Business Council for Global Development (BCGD), hosted thought leaders and key representatives from the business, think tank, and non-profit communities for a briefing and roundtable discussion regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)’s capacity building provision.

Organizations represented included:

  • American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative
  • American Apparel & Footwear Association
  • Bread for the World Institute
  • Boeing
  • Brookings Institution
  • Center for International Private Enterprise
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Gap, Inc.
  • General Electric
  • GoodWeave International
  • InterAction
  • International Labour Organization
  • Retail Industry Leaders Association

    Ed Gresser, Director of Policy and Planning, USTR (Photo: Nathan Magrath/Alliance to End Hunger)

  • Office of the United States Trade Representative
  • VF Corporation

Rebecca Middleton, Chief Operating Officer of the Alliance to End Hunger, and Claude Fontheim, President and CEO of corporate social responsibility consulting firm Fontheim International, LLC, served as moderators of the discussion and provided opening remarks to frame the conversation towards the benefits of TPP.

Guest speaker Ed Gresser, Director of Policy & Planning from the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) offered insights based on recent findings by the International Trade Commission (ITC) on the potential economic benefits of TPP for the signatories. Gresser shared USTR’s progress on an implementation plan for TPP’s partner countries to meet all required components for compliance and also discussed developing specific guidelines and capacity building programs to aid partner countries on the challenges they face with meeting all TPP requirements.


Marta Prado, Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, USTR (Photo: Nathan Magrath/Alliance to End Hunger)

Marta Prado, Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific of USTR, expanded upon the challenges to implementation and shared her recent experiences in Vietnam, a partnering TPP country. Among these challenges, one of the key components is providing capacity building measures to developing countries to ensure the necessary infrastructure, legal systems, trainings, and resources are in place to meet and enforce TPP’s core labor standards. Prado also discussed USTR’s work with NGOs, businesses, and other stakeholders to guide and assist with implementation and ensure coordination and collaboration among all TPP countries.

Afterwards, the discussion opened for all participants to share their ideas and questions. As the organizations represented were reflective of a diverse community of stakeholders, many of whom are engaged with TPP countries in differing capacities, their viewpoints revealed how TPP affects various players in the international economic community. Issues discussed include TPP’s impact on global supply chains, non-profit organizations seeking to eliminate worldwide poverty, environmentally sustainable practices, combating human trafficking, and ensuring a high standard of labor rights.

The roundtable discussion was a successful step in exploring various potential benefits TPP would produce for multiple sectors of the global economy. The discussion also reinforced USTR’s key point of implementing effective capacity building programs to ensure TPP compliance and inclusive economic development.

BCGD and the Alliance to End Hunger plan to convene once again in July to continue the conversation.