Students respond to Linda Gerber’s explanation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership


Photo Credit: Emmanuel Briseño | Daily Texan Staff

Linda Gerber, director of the Center for International Business Education, discussed the repercussions of the United States’ withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of the very first acts of the Trump presidency, via a virtual webinar Friday.

TPP is an international trade agreement ratified by 12 countries including the United States early last year. Participating countries make up 40 percent of the global GDP and agreed to the treaty’s terms on reducing barriers to trade. 

“TPP is the first trade agreement to encompass so many countries of different economic developments,” Gerber said. “It could possibly serve as a landmark for other global trade agreements going forward.”

Gerber said although the TPP isn’t perfect, she is an advocate of the partnership.

“I really believe the openness we’ve seen in post World War II economies have been essential in creating a period of relative peace and prosperity,” Gerber said.  “My students yesterday gave a report that shows all countries who have supported open trade have benefited tremendously.”

Gerber said the Unites States’ withdrawal might have repercussions. 

“When you only have regional trade or bilateral agreements, you start getting regional trade blocs,” Gerber said. “These are potentially dangerous because that could start pitting regions against each other.”

Economics freshman Ralph Lee listened to the webinar and said the United States’ departure is inevitable due to President Donald Trump’s plan to shift the country toward isolationism.

“We might see some short term boons domestically,” Lee said. “But in the long term the U.S. is taking a step back as the largest economic superpower not just in Asia but also on a global scale.”

Lee said he agrees with Gerber in that the United States is taking a step back when there is a proliferation of trade in the world.

“Now is too early to tell if our withdrawal will create benefits,” Lee said “But in an ever globalizing world, free trade may be the only way the U.S. can sustain
its hegemony.”

Accounting sophomore Kevin Yen, another webinar viewer, said he found the lecture surprisingly interesting.

“I’ve never learned about the international side of business,” Yen said. “Seeing trade dynamics played out on such a grand scale is very enlightening and brings an entirely new perspective to my business education.”­­