TPP Negotiations Shift Into Higher Gear at 16th Round
At the close of the 16th Round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations today, chief negotiators reported that they had achieved the goal set for the round: to put the negotiations on an accelerated track toward conclusion of a next-generation, comprehensive agreement in the 2013 time frame envisioned by President Obama and the Leaders of the ten other TPP countries.
Through the TPP, the United States is seeking to help establish a trade and investment framework that supports U.S. job creation by addressing the issues faced by U.S. stakeholders in the 21st-century, promoting U.S. competitiveness, and expanding U.S. trade in the dynamic Asia-Pacific region. The United States also is seeking to advance core U.S. values in the agreement, such as transparency, labor rights, and environmental protection.
U.S. Chief Negotiator and Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Barbara Weisel reports that building on the consensus the TPP countries have already achieved on a significant number of the issues under negotiation, during this round the 11 delegations intensified their drive to find mutually-acceptable paths forward on the remaining issues in the legal texts of the agreement. As a result of active intersessional engagement, and the pragmatism and flexibility shown by all countries during this round, the delegations succeeded in finding solutions to many issues in a wide range of areas such as customs, telecommunications, investment, services, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, intellectual property, regulatory coherence, development, and other issues. With this progress, some negotiating groups, including customs, telecommunications, regulatory coherence, and development will not meet again to discuss the legal texts in future rounds and any remaining work in these areas will be taken up in late-stage rounds as the agreement is finalized. This will allow the TPP countries to concentrate their efforts on resolving the most challenging issues that remain, including related to intellectual property, competition, and environment.
The 11 countries also made progress during this round in continuing to develop the comprehensive packages that will provide market access for goods, services and investment, and government procurement. Productive exchanges occurred on tariff packages on industrial goods, agriculture, and textiles, as well as on rules of origin and how best to promote the development of regional supply chains in order to benefit companies based in the United States and the other TPP countries. In addition, negotiators discussed each country’s proposals to open services and investment and government procurement markets. The 11 countries agreed on additional intersessional work to build on market access advances made since the last round, to continue movement toward outcomes consistent with the high level of ambition that Leaders agreed to seek.
On March 6, the TPP negotiations adjourned temporarily so that negotiators could engage with the more than 300 stakeholders from TPP countries who registered to join the stakeholder events in Singapore. In response to stakeholder requests, Singapore arranged both for direct stakeholder engagement with negotiators and for 60 stakeholders to make presentations on a wide variety of issues. Also that day, Weisel and fellow Chief Negotiators briefed stakeholders and took questions on the substance and process of the TPP talks.
In mid-April, TPP Trade Ministers will meet on the margins of the APEC Trade Ministers meeting in Surabaya, Indonesia to discuss progress to date and provide further guidance to negotiators. As the negotiations draw to a close, high-level officials will be more actively engaged with one another on ways to address the remaining sensitive issues.
The 17th round of TPP negotiations will be held in Lima, Peru, from May 15-24.
Round 15 concludes in Auckland - 12 December 2012 – from MFAT
A constructive and busy Round 15 of TPP has just concluded in New Zealand, with further good progress made across the negotiation.
More than 500 delegates from the 11 TPP participating countries met from 3 to 12 December in Auckland with negotiating teams from Canada and Mexico coming to the table for the first time.
TPP Leaders set out the ambition of what they are looking to see achieved in a TPP agreement when they met in Honolulu in November 2011. That ambition was reiterated in the margins of APEC Vladivostok in September 2012 with TPP Leaders’ and Trade Ministers’ statements released at that time.
Since then a number of TPP Leaders have expressed their desire to conclude a deal in the course of the coming year. The approach to Round 15 was developed in that context.
Two main objectives were established for the round. The first of these was to ensure the smooth integration of Canada and Mexico into the negotiation. This was achieved in large part because both countries came to Auckland well prepared across the TPP negotiating brief and each made positive contributions to narrowing differences across the negotiation.
The second objective was to make continued progress across the whole negotiation in order to set a platform that could enable the conclusion of a deal in 2013. Across the more technical areas of the negotiation - such as Technical Barriers to Trade, Telecommunications, Customs, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures - negotiators worked to resolve issues and to provide clear pathways towards conclusion for issues that remain to be resolved.
In more complex or sensitive areas - such as Intellectual Property, Environment, and Investment - negotiators also worked to resolve a number of the more technical issues involved in these areas; and to more clearly frame up some of the substantive differences on more challenging issues that will need to be resolved as negotiations are brought to a conclusion.
On the various market access negotiations, discussions continued as delegations moved towards construction of an overall package which meets the ambition set out by Leaders and Ministers and is acceptable to all in goods (covering both tariffs and associated rules of origin), cross-border and financial services, investment and government procurement.
Countries now have specific follow-up work to do in preparation for the next round to take the negotiations forward on remaining areas of chapter text and in market access in order to progress towards the objective of concluding an agreement in the coming year, consistent with the clear ambition that Leaders set out in Honolulu.
More than 300 individuals from over 200 organisations registered for a well-attended programme of stakeholder engagement on 7 December. This event provided further opportunities for stakeholders and negotiators to exchange views. Seventy-one presentations were made by stakeholders on topics including Intellectual Property, Labour, Environment, Market Access, and Investment and a briefing was also held for stakeholders with Chief Negotiators.
Round 16 of TPP negotiations will be held in Singapore from 4-13 March 2013.TPP Chief Negotiators Pleased to Report Continued Progress – from USTR
Auckland, New Zealand – Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators were pleased to report further solid steps forward in closing the remaining gaps between them during the 15th round of negotiations, which closed today. Their announcement of new progress followed recent discussions between President Obama and the Leaders of other TPP countries, during which the Leaders reaffirmed their mutual priority of concluding a state-of-the-art, comprehensive agreement as quickly as possible and of smoothly integrating the newest members, Canada and Mexico, into the negotiations.
Canada and Mexico, the United States’ two largest export markets, participated in the TPP negotiations for the first time this round. Over the past several months, United States and the other eight TPP countries – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam – worked with Canada and Mexico as they prepared to join, and both countries contributed to the progress achieved during this 10-day round. Their participation adds significantly to the economic importance of the agreement as well as to establishing TPP as the most promising pathway to promote regional economic integration and to support the creation and retention of U.S. jobs.
During the 10-day round, the 11 delegations concentrated on finding pragmatic and mutually-beneficial outcomes to remaining issues under consideration, while isolating the outstanding challenges to be addressed in the months ahead. They furthered their efforts to close the outstanding legal texts of the 29 chapters of the agreement covering all trade and investment-related issues between them, making progress across the agreement. With most chapters far along, the United States and its TPP partners agreed to work between now and the next round to address the handful of issues still open in them, in such areas as customs, telecommunications, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary issues, and other issues; and to intensify their efforts on the chapters where the volume of remaining work is more substantial.
Through the TPP, the United States is seeking to address new issues that respond to concerns raised by U.S. stakeholders and that will enhance U.S. competitiveness in the 21st century and support the expansion of U.S. exports. The United States also is committed to advancing core U.S. values, such as transparency, labor rights and environmental protection.
Further steps forward were also made on goods, services and investment, and government procurement during this round; leaders of the 11 TPP countries have agreed to comprehensive access to each other’s markets in all areas. TPP member delegations continued to advance their work to develop the tariff packages on industrial goods, agriculture, and textiles, as well as on rules of origin promoting the development of supply chains that include companies based in the United States and the other TPP countries. In addition, they discussed their respective market-opening commitments on services and investment, and government procurement. The TPP delegations recognize that further work is needed to meet the Leaders’ goals for a high-standard result in the market access negotiations, and were able to set timetables for intersessional work that would ensure additional progress at the next round.
On December 7, the TPP negotiations were temporarily adjourned so that negotiators could engage with the more than 300 stakeholders registered to join the TPP stakeholder events in Auckland. This included more than 70 stakeholders from virtually all TPP countries, who made presentations on a wide range of issues and met informally with TPP negotiators. Also that day, U.S. Chief Negotiator Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Barbara Weisel and fellow Chief Negotiators briefed stakeholders and took questions on the substance and process of the TPP talks.
TPP is for people - BusinessNZ
The Trans Pacific Partnership will help build more successful communities, says BusinessNZ.
Speaking at the Trans Pacific Partnership Forum in Auckland today, BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly said the TPP has the potential to raise living standards around New Zealand.
“This trade agreement goes beyond the 20th Century approach of simply seeking to reduce tariffs and border restrictions.
“It recognises the fact that industry now relies on complex supply and value chains involving producers in many different locations and countries. New Zealand is deeply involved in many international value chains and the TPP will enable more New Zealand businesses to trade more effectively in more countries, and that means increased growth and more jobs for New Zealanders.
“The particular value of the Trans Pacific Partnership is that it involves many of the fastest growing economies on earth. Economic growth in the Asia Pacific region is surging and the TPP will help unlock that growth for New Zealand’s benefit.
“It’s appropriate that New Zealand’s negotiators are focused on protecting and advancing our interests including public health, intellectual property, the environment, and the Treaty of Waitangi, and success in these areas will mean a high-quality trade deal that is sustainable in the long term,” Mr O’Reilly said.
The potential benefits of TPP from MFAT TPP talk
The 11 economies negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) are all doing so because they see benefits in a regional free trade agreement.
Collectively the 11 TPP economies represent about US$21 trillion in GDP. If these economies come together in the kind of relationship envisaged under TPP, New Zealand needs to be part of it. The Asia Pacific region is our home, and our economic future depends on strong trading relationships with Asia-Pacific countries. By negotiating free trade agreements, New Zealand ensures a level playing field for our exporters. If we are not involved in free trade agreements involving key trading partners, our exporters get left behind, and experience real economic disadvantages operating in offshore markets.
At the moment, New Zealand has eight trade agreements in force. Nearly 50 percent of New Zealand exports are now covered by FTAs; from our earliest with Australia through to the most recent FTA with Hong Kong.
TPP includes four of New Zealand’s top 10 trading partners (1st – Australia, 3rd – US, 6th – Singapore, and 9th – Malaysia). Collectively, the TPP economies take around 38 percent of all exports by value from New Zealand (and we source 37.8 percent of our imports from them).
A recently released study estimates that gains for New Zealand from a free trade agreement with the current 11 TPP economies could be as high as 1.4 percent of our gross domestic product, or US$2.9 billion.
Beyond the economic modelling, we know that free trade agreements help New Zealand exporters, because they have told us so. In 2009, MFAT and NZTE surveyed 854 New Zealand exporters to assess the impact of FTAs on their companies. More than 75 percent of respondents saw increases in profitability from the removal of trade barriers.
Specific benefits for New Zealand businesses from TPP are likely to include:
•Tariff elimination and reduced compliance costs for goods exporters;
- More opportunities to access government procurement contracts;
- Reduced barriers to services trade and investment.
Peter Petri, Michael Plummer and Fan Zhai, Asia-Pacific Trade,
The 14th round of negotiations took place September 6-15, 2012 in Leesburg, Virginia. On September 9, more than 250 stakeholders representing 93 groups from civil society, business, labor and regional development organizations spoke one-on-one or in small groups with TPP negotiators in a Direct Stakeholder Engagement Forum; 60 presenters also accepted the opportunity to give brief presentations on their views on key negotiating issues. That same day, U.S. Chief Negotiator and Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Barbara Weisel and fellow chief negotiators briefed stakeholders and took questions on the substance and process of the TPP talks.
The next round of negotiations will take place in Auckland, New Zealand, December 3-12, 2012.
Click here for more on stakeholder engagement.
Important progress made in TPP alks in San Diego
The United States and its eight TPP partners made important progress at the 13th Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiating round that concluded today. The talks, which were held July 2-10, continued the march forward toward conclusion of the more than 20 chapters under negotiation between the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The TPP Agreement is a key trade initiative of the Obama Administration, which is seeking to support jobs for American workers by boosting American exports to the dynamic Asia-Pacific region, promote manufacturing, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and at the same time, reflect in the agreement important values on key issues such as worker rights and the environment.
This week’s talks made further substantial progress across the chapters, reflecting significant preparatory work done by each of the TPP countries since the previous negotiating round in Dallas in May. Negotiating groups made particularly significant progress in a number of chapters, including customs, cross-border services, telecommunications, government procurement, competition policy, and cooperation and capacity building. In addition, the negotiating groups moved their work ahead substantially on other issues, including rules of origin, investment, financial services, temporary entry, and other issues. Notably, the United States tabled a new proposal in the intellectual property rights group having to do with copyright limitations and exceptions. Negotiators will now take the progress made in the various chapters back to their capitals for review.
The nine countries continued intensive discussions on the ambitious tariff packages they are seeking to conclude that will provide access to each other’s industrial goods, agriculture, and textiles markets. They also advanced their discussions of how to promote regional supply chains to further augment the benefits of the agreement. In addition, they discussed specific commitments on liberalization of their markets for services, an area where the United States and other TPP countries see potential new opportunities from the agreement.
The U.S. Government recognizes the importance of obtaining as broad a range of input from the public as possible throughout the TPP negotiations; the active engagement we are undertaking is refining our negotiating positions and will result in a better agreement. This negotiating round featured numerous opportunities for nearly 300 people who had registered to meet with U.S. and other TPP negotiators. On July 2, the first day of the negotiating round, a Direct Stakeholder Engagement Forum was held at the negotiating venue, which enabled representatives of industry, non-governmental organizations, academia, and the general public to meet directly with negotiators to discuss specific TPP issues. Some stakeholders also chose to make formal presentations to negotiators. On July 3, the Chief Negotiators from all nine TPP countries held a briefing with stakeholders, and the U.S. Chief Negotiator also participated in a roundtable discussion hosted at the University of California, San Diego. On July 6, negotiators from all nine TPP countries participated in an event hosted by the AFL-CIO and other groups, which featured remarks from Congressman Bob Filner, San Diego Port Commissioner Scott Peters, and Lorena Gonzalez, Secretary-Treasurer/CEO of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council of the AFL-CIO. There were also numerous additional meetings between negotiators and interested parties throughout the negotiating round.
During this round, USTR also notified Congress of its intent to enter into TPP negotiations with Mexico and Canada on July 9 and 10, respectively. This notification triggers a 90-day period during which the Obama Administration will consult with Congress on objectives related to these new entrants to the TPP negotiations. Mexico and Canada will join the TPP negotiations once current TPP members successfully conclude their domestic procedures.
The 14th Round of TPP negotiations will take place in Leesburg, Virginia on September 6-15. We will provide further information about public events surrounding this round of negotiations as soon as it is available; however, we urge all interested parties to save these dates.
U.S. Trade Representative Kirk Welcomes Canada as a New Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiating Partner
Washington, D.C. – President Obama announced today that the United States and the eight other countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement have extended an invitation to Canada to join the TPP negotiations, pending successful conclusion of domestic procedures. In addition to the United States, the current TPP countries are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
“Inviting Canada to join the TPP negotiations presents a unique opportunity for the United States to build upon this already dynamic trading relationship. Through TPP, we are bringing the relationship with our largest trading partner into the 21st century,” said Ambassador Kirk. “We look forward to continuing consultations with the Congress and domestic stakeholders regarding Canada’s entry into the TPP as we move closer to a broad-based, high-standard trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Next steps will parallel those for Mexico, which was also invited to join the TPP negotiations yesterday. The Administration will shortly notify Congress of our intent to include Canada in the TPP negotiations. The notification will trigger a 90-day consultation period with Congress on U.S. negotiating objectives with respect to Canada. We also will publish a notice in the Federal Register seeking public comments.
The TPP is a key element of the Obama Administration’s efforts to support the creation and retention of high-quality jobs for Americans by increasing exports to the vibrant economies of the Asia-Pacific region. The United States and its TPP partners are determined to expeditiously complete a comprehensive, next-generation agreement.
The TPP countries have completed 12 rounds of negotiations and the nine countries have made solid progress. The next round of negotiations is scheduled to take place July 2 – 10 in San Diego, California
U.S. Trade Representative Kirk Welcomes Mexico as a New Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiating Partner
After Mexico expressed its interest in joining the TPP last November, the United States briefed Mexico about the status of the TPP negotiations and the high standards and objectives that the TPP countries are seeking in the agreement. The United States also discussed with Mexico its ability to negotiate on issues that are a priority for the United States in the TPP. Mexico has assured the United States that it is prepared to conclude a high-standard agreement that will include issues that were not covered in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The Administration will shortly notify Congress of its intent to include Mexico in the TPP negotiations. The notification will trigger a 90-day consultation period with Congress on U.S. negotiating objectives with respect to Mexico. USTR also will publish a notice in the Federal Register seeking public comments.
The TPP is a key element of the Obama Administration’s efforts to support the creation and retention of high-quality jobs for Americans by increasing exports to the vibrant economies of the Asia-Pacific region. The United States and its TPP partners are determined to expeditiously complete a comprehensive, next-generation agreement.
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Talks Advance in Texas
Addison, Texas – The United States said today that TPP partners – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam – made better-than-expected progress at the twelfth round of negotiations that formally concluded today outside Dallas, Texas. U.S. negotiators have reported to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk that the progress achieved during this round has further narrowed differences in the text and the teams can now see a clear path forward toward conclusion of most of the more than 20 chapters of the agreement. A few TPP negotiating groups will continue to meet in Texas for the remainder of this week.
The TPP agreement is an important element of the Obama Administration’s efforts to support the creation and retention of high-quality jobs for Americans by increasing exports to the vibrant economies of the Asia-Pacific region. The United States and its eight partners are determined to expeditiously complete a comprehensive, next-generation agreement. During this eleven-day negotiating round, the teams focused heavily on making as much progress as possible on the texts of the agreement. The TPP countries closed discussions on small- and medium-sized enterprises, a new feature in a U.S. free trade agreement intended to support the integration into global trade of small- and medium-sized enterprises, which account for two-thirds of job creation in the United States. They also moved toward closure on the other new crossing-cutting issues of regulatory coherence, deepening of regional supply linkages between TPP countries, and promoting development.
At the same time, the teams sought to close out issues in the other chapters and charted a course ahead on the remaining elements. The discussions focused on ensuring that the commitments best encourage growth, development, and innovation; and address issues that businesses and workers are facing in the 21st century. From goods, services, investment, telecommunications, and e-commerce to customs, intellectual property, labor, environment, and competition, the groups remained committed to ambitious outcomes, while finding the flexibility necessary to develop solutions. This round, the nine countries had valuable exchanges on the U.S. proposal on State-owned enterprises, a new and challenging issue intended to lay out rules to ensure that these enterprises compete fairly with private companies. The teams had similarly productive exchanges on new issues related to trade and the environment, the digital economy, and the development of supply chains in the region.
In addition, the nine TPP countries continued work on developing ambitious tariff packages that would provide access to each other’s industrial goods, agricultural, and textiles markets. They also discussed specific commitments on liberalization of their respective services and government procurement markets.
At this round, the United States introduced a new format for negotiators to engage with the more than 300 stakeholders from the United States and other TPP countries who accepted the U.S. government’s invitation to be on-site throughout the talks. Many stakeholders took advantage of provided presentation spaces for one-on-one engagement with negotiators from all nine teams during a four-hour session. Many stakeholders commented that this format was more useful for this advanced stage of the negotiations, and allowed them to provide input to negotiators on specific issues still on the table in the talks. In addition, the United States hosted a roundtable during which the chief negotiators from the nine countries briefed stakeholders and responded to their questions on TPP issues from Internet freedom and intellectual property enforcement to investor-state dispute settlement. Stakeholders also arranged separate meetings with relevant negotiating groups on the issues on which they focus. USTR plans further briefings of its stakeholders in Washington, DC, following the round.
Ambassador Kirk will meet with his TPP counterparts on the margins of the APEC Trade ministers meeting in Kazan, Russia in early June to discuss progress achieved to date and to agree on a plan forward. They also will exchange views on their respective bilateral consultations for considering the membership of Canada, Japan, and Mexico in the TPP.
The next round of TPP negotiations will be held in San Diego, California from July 2-10. The Stakeholder Engagement Forum for that round will take place on Monday, July 2, and stakeholders are encouraged to make their plans now to participate. The United States is taking into consideration the many thoughtful comments and suggestions provided by stakeholders in Texas, and looks forward to putting together another useful session where negotiators and stakeholders can engage and discuss the many important issues being addressed in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks.
Headway at Negotiating Round in Melbourne Keeps Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Track
The United States said today that TPP partners – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam – made further strong headway during the eleventh round of negotiations that concluded today in Melbourne, Australia. With this progress, TPP negotiators remain on track to conclude negotiation of a comprehensive, 21st-century agreement. Conclusion of a robust TPP agreement is an important element of the Obama Administration’s plan to support high-quality jobs for Americans by increasing U.S. exports to the fast-growing Asia Pacific region.
During this nine-day negotiating round, more than 20 working groups met to discuss the legal texts of the agreement, which cover all aspects of our commercial relations with TPP partner countries. Notable progress was made across the full range of chapters, including on trade issues traditionally included in trade agreements as well as cross-cutting issues such as regulatory coherence, better integration of small and medium-sized businesses into international trade, deepening of regional supply linkages between TPP countries, and promoting development. Productive exchanges also took place on emerging trade issues such as addressing trade and investment in innovative products and services, including digital technology, and ensuring state-owned enterprises compete fairly with private companies.
In addition, the nine TPP countries discussed market access packages, including the improved offers for services and government procurement presented by various TPP countries. They also continued work on the high-ambition tariff packages on industrial goods, agricultural products and textiles.
As at previous TPP rounds, stakeholders were invited to engage with negotiators on-site during the round. More than 250 stakeholders from the United States and the other TPP countries participated at events in Melbourne. On March 4, the Australian government hosted a stakeholder forum, which included presentations by businesses, civil society, and academic groups. Separately, the Obama Administration has engaged in unprecedented public consultation as it has developed its negotiating positions for the TPP.
To ensure continued progress toward a next-generation agreement, the teams reviewed their roadmaps for work going forward and agreed to an intersessional work program for each negotiating group to build on the progress made this week. The next formal round will take place in May.
Today (15 Dec) the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade held a hearing on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. The hearing focused on the progress of the negotiations, a timetable for conclusion, and possible new members. Witnesses at the hearing included:
Ambassador Demetrios Marantis, USTR
Devry S. Boughner, Cargill, Inc.
Angela Marshall Hofmann, Wal-Mart Stores
Michael WesselPresident, The Wessel Group
The Chamber submitted a statement for the record detailing our support for the agreement and our desire to see the TPP include the highest possible standards for trade and investment.
For more information, please contact Catherine Mellor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is a short summary of the recent developments in the TPP from the US Chamber of Commerce and our expectations for how the talks will progress over the next few months.I US Chamber Public Comments on Potential New Entrants
Three countriesundefinedCanada, Japan and Mexicoundefinedannounced their desire to join the negotiations during the APEC Summit in Hawaii last month. The Chamber’s official position on new members is that we welcome the expansion of the TPP on the condition that i) new members are capable of meeting the high standards set for the agreement, and ii) their entry does not slow down the progress of the negotiation. We released the following press statements on the TPP while in Hawaii.II US Chamber to Respond to Federal Register Notices Requesting Comments on Potential New Entrants
1. U.S. Chamber Says Japan’s Intention to Join TPP Sends Positive Message to NegotiationsA full copy of our press clips from the trip can be found here.
2. U.S. Chamber Welcomes TPP Leaders' Statement as a 'Positive Step Forward'
The Administration has been proceeding with the TPP negotiations under the rules of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), despite TPA having expired in 2007. As such, USTR has begun a consultation period with Canada, Japan and Mexico, which will lead up to the formal 90-day Congressional notification period. As part of this consultation, yesterday USTR published Federal Register notices requesting comments on each of the country’s interest in the TPP (Canada, Japan, and Mexico). The Chamber will be submitting individual statements for each country, and we will coordinate our input with the relevant AmChams. For reference, a copy of the submission we provided regarding Malaysia’s interest in the TPP last year is attached.
III Negotiation Timeline
We do not have a clear indication of the duration of the “pre-90 day notification” period but some are speculating that it could take months. Much will depend on how willing the three countries are to adopt confidence-building measures that would demonstrate to the existing TPP partners that their entry into the talks would not derail the progress already achieved.
Leader’s declared in Hawaii that they reached the “broad outlines of an agreement” (i.e., they agreed on a consolidated text with varying degrees of completion in the individual chapters), but they did not commit to a deadline for conclusion in the official statement. President Obama stated at his press conference in Hawaii that the TPP Leader’s had “directed our teams to finalize this agreement in the coming year”, a sentiment which USTR Kirk echoed at a program hosted on the trade agenda by the U.S. Chamber last week.
The Chamber understands that the U.S. government is pushing for a robust schedule of negotiating rounds next year and has indicated that it would like to complete the text of an agreement by the June APEC Trade Ministers meetings in Russia. The first of two informal rounds is underway in Malaysia this week; the second will be held in the United States in late January or early February; and the first full round of negotiations will be held in March in Australia.
IV The Need for TPA
At the Chamber program, USTR Kirk underscored that the White House would need the appropriate negotiating authorityundefinedi.e., Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)undefinedto meet this objective. Some in the trade community have taken this statement to mean that the Administration is willing to put TPA on the Congressional agenda next year, notwithstanding concerns over the political feasibility of doing so in an election year. Some are speculating that the White House will push for a narrowly crafted TPA, specific only to the TPP. This could raise significant questions for the business community, which would prefer a broader TPA that allows pursuit of additional FTAs and other agreements.
Considering the public commitment President Obama has made to concluding an agreement in 2012, there is significant uncertainty over how new members might be brought into the negotiation. Some of the current TPP negotiating partners (including New Zealand Trade Minister Grosser) have suggested that the most practical path forward would be to complete the text with the current nine, and then move to a 9-1 negotiation with each new prospective member. This proposed “two-track” approach, it has been noted, would allow for a conclusion of an initial agreement by next year, while using the “consultation” phase to keep prospective members engaged in the process.
The Chamber does not have a position on the optimal process for expansion of the TPP. As noted in our press statements, we welcome the expression of interest by all new members to the TPP as long as they are able to meet the high standard and keep the momentum of the current negotiation moving forward.
The U.S. Chamber will continue to play a leadership role in all aspects of the TPP consultation and policy advocacy processes in Washington.