Washington — The United States and its fellow Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) members made significant progress toward concluding a comprehensive regional trade agreement during the latest round of negotiations, according to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
A statement from Kirk’s office said that during the September 6–15 round of talks in Leesburg, Virginia, negotiators from the nine partnership countries successfully advanced efforts to reach agreement on the texts of all 29 chapters of the deal.
“The teams were pleased with progress made on a wide range of chapters, including market access, customs, rules of origin, telecommunications, government procurement and others,” the statement said. It added that negotiators continue to move forward in developing market-opening commitments to ease the trade of industrial goods, agriculture, textiles, services and investment and government procurement.
“Along with this progress, the nine countries also reported a continued focus on other important issues, from intellectual property rights to labor and environment and other topics that address core issues faced by manufacturers, service providers, farmers, ranchers and workers in the 21st century,” the statement said.
Joining government representatives during the Leesburg round were more than 250 stakeholders representing 93 groups from civil society, business, labor and regional development organizations. The stakeholders spoke one-on-one and in small groups to negotiators during the September 9 Direct Stakeholder Engagement Forum, and many gave presentations on their views regarding key negotiating issues. The United States and its partners have worked to include stakeholders in each round of negotiations in order to gain a broad range of input from the public and develop a stronger agreement.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership aims to enhance trade in the Asia-Pacific in order to create jobs, boost competitiveness, promote economic growth and advance development throughout the region.
The 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, actions that are expected to occur in early October.
The 14th round of negotiations followed the TPP leaders’ meeting and trade ministers’ forum in Vladivostok, Russia, earlier in September. The next round of talks is scheduled to take place in Auckland, New Zealand, December 3–12.