Washington — The United States and its fellow Trans-Pacific Partnership members continue to make significant progress toward concluding a comprehensive regional agreement to liberalize trade and investment while addressing emerging and traditional trade issues.
The leaders of the nine TPP member nations met in Vladivostok, Russia, to discuss progress made during negotiations since the last leaders’ meeting, which took place in Honolulu in November 2011, as well as the next steps toward finalizing the deal.
“The conclusion of the TPP will provide a promising pathway for free trade across the Asia-Pacific, support the creation and retention of jobs in our markets, boost our competitiveness, promote economic growth throughout our region and advance our development goals,” the leaders said in a September 9 joint statement. “Based on the significant advances our negotiators have made in the fourteen negotiating rounds and other intersessional meetings since Honolulu, we are confident that this goal is within our reach.”
Meeting following the TPP trade ministers’ meeting, also in Vladivostok, the leaders pledged to renew their efforts to conclude negotiations in a timely manner “so that our manufacturers, service providers, farmers, ranchers, workers and consumers can begin reaping as soon as possible the considerable benefits” of the agreement.
The deal aims to address existing trade issues, such as tariffs as well as regulatory and other nontariff barriers to trade, while also building a sustainable framework for 21st-century trade by ensuring workers’ rights and promoting environmental protection.
Earlier September 9, the trade ministers released a statement detailing significant progress made on many of the 29 chapters under negotiation, including customs, cross-border services, government procurement, telecommunications, competition policy, small- and medium-sized enterprises, competitiveness and business facilitation, and cooperation and capacity building. The group moved ahead on other issues as well, including rules of origin, investment, financial services and temporary entry.
“We are determined to build on the momentum we have achieved to close as many of these chapters as possible this year, recognizing that the agreement is a single undertaking and must result in a balanced package that all TPP countries can embrace,” the ministers said. “While our nine countries have different approaches to some of these issues, we are working closely and constructively to find compromises so that we can ensure this agreement will promote synergies between our economies and raise living standards for our people.”
The Trans-Pacific Partnership includes Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. Mexico and Canada have been invited into negotiations, and are scheduled to formally join the partnership once current members approve the additions through their own domestic procedures.
The 14th round of negotiations is under way in Leesburg, Virginia, and is scheduled to end September 15.