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Trans Pacific Partnership 'largest free trade agreement in human history,' professor says

Monday, October 05, 2015

LAWRENCE — Trade negotiators from 12 Pacific Rim countries finalized agreements on the Trans Pacific Partnership in Atlanta over the weekend. The controversial free trade proposal is intended to expand trade and establish trade rules among the nations that China would eventually have to follow.

Raj Bhala, associate dean for international & comparative law and Rice Distinguished Professor at the University of Kansas School of Law, is available to speak with media about the TPP, its ratification, what it will likely mean for the 12 countries, the process of negotiations, issues of contention in the partnership and related topics. An international trade law expert, Bhala has closely followed the TPP negotiations and can comment on issues that drove the heated negotiations, including importation of auto parts in the United States, dairy imports in Canada and others.

Bhala said the agreement is a landmark that will have ramifications throughout the world and across the spectrum of business and law.

“This is the largest free trade agreement in human history. It’s the most important event in international trade since the birth of the World Trade Organization in 1995,” Bhala said. “It has enormous economic, political and national security consequences. No matter what one’s specialty area in business or in law, the TPP will affect that specialty. It’s one of the instances where the word ‘game changer’ is not overused. It’s actually quite surprising that so little attention has been paid to it in the United States.”

Bhala has a global reputation in the scholarship of international trade law and Islamic law. He is the author of the book “Understanding Islamic Law (Shari’a),” published by LexisNexis. He has also written an acclaimed two-volume treatise, “Modern GATT Law” and recently published the fourth edition of International Trade Law: An Interdisciplinary, Non-Western Textbook, which includes coverage of the TPP. Bhala practiced international banking law at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York before entering academia, and he currently serves as a legal consultant to Cheniere Energy and other prominent organizations and firms. He has worked in 25 countries, including TPP nations such as Canada, Mexico, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and New Zealand.

To schedule an interview, contact Mike Krings at 785-864-8860 or mkrings@ku.edu.


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CEAS offers an M.A. program in Contemporary East Asian Studies.This interdisciplinary degree focused on 20th and 21st century East Asia provides students with in-depth interdisciplinary knowledge of a selected East Asian country (China, Korea, Japan); a broad knowledge of modern East Asia; and social science research skills and methods appropriate to international area studies. Read more about the CEAS M.A. Program, or contact Ayako Mizumura, CEAS Assistant Director, at ceasma@ku.edu or 785-864-1478.

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