Trans Pacific Partnership NEWS Feeds

Registrations open for TPP roadshows

Trade Minister Todd McClay announced today the Government will be running nation-wide roadshows on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“The roadshows are for interested members of the public to learn more about this important trade agreement, and to assist businesses identify and plan for new export opportunities when TPP comes into force,” says Mr McClay. 

Registrations are now open for the first four roadshows at
•   Auckland, 7 March
•   Christchurch, 11 March
•   Dunedin, 14 March
•   Wellington, 18 March

Roadshows will be also held in following months in Hamilton, Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Tauranga, and Whangarei.

“The roadshows will build on the large amount of information the Government has made available on TPP, including the full text of the Agreement, detailed factsheets and sectoral outcomes, and background analysis.

“Each roadshow will include an overview information session, followed by workshops on specific areas of TPP.

“For businesses, it will be an opportunity to learn about how outcomes in TPP are directly relevant to their areas of speciality and markets, but also to connect with online tools, business groups, and government agencies that can assist their planning for TPP’s entry into force,” says Mr McClay. 

One such online tool for TPP was launched today, with the addition of the TPP market access outcomes to the New Zealand tariff finder:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will also be conducting a number of Hui in February and March to discuss TPP with Māori. Further information on these is available on the TPP website.  

TPP presented for treaty examination

Trade Minister Todd McClay today announced the commencement of Parliamentary treaty examination of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), following signature of the Agreement on 4 February 2016. 

“The Government has presented the final text of TPP, together with its National Interest Analysis (NIA), to the House of Representatives for treaty examination by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee.

“During Parliamentary treaty examination, the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee can choose to call for public submissions. After it has completed its treaty examination, it will then report back to the House of Representatives and, if it chooses, make recommendations to the Government,” says Mr McClay.

Alongside these documents, the Government also presented the text of four intellectual property treaties to which New Zealand will need to accede under TPP, along with the separate National Impact Analyses required for each of those treaties. 

“Legislative changes required in order to implement TPP will be introduced to Parliament at a later stage, and go through normal Parliamentary procedures. 

“The full set of legislative changes that will need to be taken up by this Bill is set out in the NIA.

“Only when these steps have been completed, and other countries have completed their own domestic approval procedures, will TPP be able to enter into force.”

The Government will also be running a number of road shows and hui-a-iwi after signature for interested members of the public, and to assist businesses with preparation for TPP’s entry into force. 

The TPP NIA is available at New Zealand’s treaty making process is set out here.

Trans-Pacific Partnership signed in Auckland

Trade Minister Todd McClay today signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership on behalf of New Zealand, at a ceremony in Auckland.

“Today 12 Asia-Pacific countries have come together to set a new standard for trade and investment in the region.

“TPP was signed by Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Viet Nam.

“In addition to hosting signature, New Zealand will be the Depositary for TPP. This means we take responsibility for some administrative functions,” says Mr McClay.

Following signature, the Government will submit the final text of TPP and the National Interest Analysis to Parliament. The legislative changes to implement TPP will then go through normal policy and Parliamentary procedures.

“Signature marks the end of the negotiating process. The text of TPP is agreed, but not yet legally binding.”

TPP is expected to come into force within two years of signature, once countries have completed their domestic legislative procedures.

“The Government will be running nation-wide roadshows for the public and business, to ensure New Zealand is ready to take advantage of new opportunities from the first day TPP enters into force”, Mr McClay says.

Trade Ministers’ Report to Leaders

November 10, 2014

Since the last TPP Leaders meeting a year ago, the 12 TPP Ministers and our negotiating teams have made significant progress in setting the stage to finalize an historic, ambitious, comprehensive, balanced, and high-standard TPP agreement in accordance with the instructions you gave us in Bali last year.  Over the past several months, we have concentrated on working together to resolve the remaining issues between us, and, as a result of this work, the number of outstanding issues is now limited, and the pace of our progress has accelerated.  With the end coming into focus, Ministers are strongly committed to moving the negotiations forward to conclusion.  Our determination is based on a recognition of Leaders’ common vision and their joint commitment to a next-generation, transformative agreement that further increases the trade and investment among us, and sets high-standard rules to address the issues that our businesses, workers, and farmers face in the 21st-century global economy.  We also are working to achieve the Leaders’ objective of ensuring that the TPP promotes innovation, enhances our competitiveness, spurs economic growth and prosperity, supports job creation in our countries and ensures that the benefits of the agreement are broadly shared among our citizens.  

Ministers have been actively engaging, and we have developed a joint work plan to accelerate the process and agree on mutually acceptable outcomes on the remaining challenges. Key among these is identifying the pathway to conclusion of ambitious packages of commitments that will open our markets to each other, including for goods, services, investment, financial services, temporary entry of businesses persons, and government procurement.  We also are continuing to seek solutions on the remaining issues in the text of the agreement, including related to intellectual property, State-owned enterprises, environment, and investment.  Ministers made further progress in narrowing the gaps between us on these issues in Beijing, and our discussions will guide the work of our negotiating teams in the weeks ahead.  However, sensitive and challenging issues remain that will require our continued involvement. 

As we work to find solutions to the remaining issues, we will continue to seek the detailed input of stakeholders as their perspectives have been invaluable to our efforts to understand the wide-ranging views and perspectives on many issues under negotiation.  Ministers will continue to work to craft an agreement that carefully balances the range of interests for each country in order to achieve an agreement that provides broadly shared benefits for all our citizens. 

We have reviewed our progress toward achieving the objectives that Leaders articulated for TPP, which will ensure the greatest benefit from the agreement, distinguish TPP from other trade agreements, and serve to boost the competitiveness of our economies regionally and globally. 

Comprehensive Market Access

Ministers and the 12 TPP negotiating teams continue to focus on achieving our goal of an ambitious, high-standard market access package that provides comprehensive, commercially meaningful and duty-free access to each other’s goods markets and simultaneously lifts restrictions on services, investment, financial services, temporary entry of business persons, and government procurement. 

  • On goods market access, TPP countries are working to finalize tariff packages with one another.  Trade among us already accounts for about one-third of total global trade, and we are seeking ambitious market-opening outcomes that can further increase opportunities for our companies, farmers, workers, and consumers.  Efforts to achieve this goal are well advanced among many countries, but work remains on the treatment of certain products and with regard to certain countries.  We are focusing intensively on finding ways to address these products while ensuring that the goals Leaders set for ambition are met, and that we achieve outcomes that result in sustained, commercially-meaningful market access for each of us.   
  • On market access for services, investment, financial services, government procurement, and temporary entry of business persons, work continues as well.  Services trade among us already accounts for nearly one-third of total global services trade, and Ministers recognize the critical part that market liberalization in these areas can play in promoting efficiency, competition, and the development of the economic infrastructure needed to ensure that the full benefits of the TPP can be realized.  We also have made significant progress on commitments seeking to eliminate barriers to investment, which we recognize play an important role in driving trade flows and regional supply chains, and we have agreed to couple those with a new, strong standard of protections to preserve governments’ ability to regulate in the public interest.  Since last year, we have moved much closer to conclusion of packages on these issues, but some outstanding work remains to ensure a high-standard outcome for all countries consistent with Leaders’ objectives. 

Regional Agreement

Since the TPP Leaders last met, we have significantly advanced our work on promoting integrated regional trade that will make trade between us more seamless, supporting jobs by making it much easier for our workers and businesses, both large and small, to take advantage of the agreement.  Exporters, importers and investors are seeking fairness and predictability so by setting common high-standard, transparent, and balanced rules across the region, we are promoting trade and investment among us.

  • The 12 countries have made substantial progress on common rules of origin on the majority of products, which is critical to facilitating and strengthening production and supply chains between us.  We have set out a plan for concluding the remaining work to complete the rules of origin that support seamless supply chains. 
  • To support the development of value chains among TPP members, our teams are far along toward agreement on such issues as customs, trade facilitation and logistics, which will cut the red tape of trade and make it faster, cheaper, and easier for businesses to get their products to market.  We also are working to finalize cooperation commitments to support each other’s efforts to stop smuggling and illegal transshipments, so we can be sure that the benefits of the agreement flow to businesses and workers from the TPP Parties.  
  • To further promote the integration of regional trade, we also are near agreement on ways to eliminate non-tariff barriers, which have increasingly replaced tariff barriers as the key obstacle businesses face in accessing foreign markets, and on work to promote cooperation on approaches to regulatory issues.  At the same time, we all have been careful to do so in a way that preserves our governments’ ability to protect the public interest, including on health, safety, and environmental protection. 

New Trade Issues

To help sustain the future dynamism and competitiveness of our economies, we have made significant progress toward developing common approaches to new issues that have emerged in the global economy since the last generation of trade agreements.  In developing rules on these issues, we have approached them in a serious and careful manner.  We are close to agreement in these new areas.

  • Recognizing the economic potential of the Internet, including for small businesses looking to reach new markets, and noting that the number of Internet users worldwide has proliferated in the past several years and will only continue to grow, we are far along in reaching agreement on rules that will promote the development of the digital economy, in a manner consistent with governments’ legitimate public policy interests, such as regulating for the purpose of privacy protection. 
  • We also have advanced our work to promote fair competition among us, including by establishing rules to ensure that State-owned enterprises and private-sector businesses are able to compete on a level playing field.  This pioneering work on TPP will reinforce efforts by many of our governments to promote efficiency and the competitiveness of our economies.
  • We appreciate that innovation is an important source of benefits for our people and growth and competitiveness for our economies, and have worked hard to develop balanced commitments on intellectual property that promote and share the benefits of innovation.   This is one of the most complex and challenging areas of the agreement, but we have made substantial progress in developing common approaches that will promote creative and technological advances that will benefit all of us.  We also have worked hard to strike an appropriate balance that ensures our citizens’ access to medicines and to fair use of on-line content, and that reflects the diversity of TPP economies. 
  • Recognizing the commitment of all TPP countries to strong environmental protection and conservation, we have made progress toward agreement on a set of enforceable environmental disciplines. 
  • To ensure that the benefits of trade are broadly shared, we are close to agreement on a set of enforceable commitments on labour rights that embody key ILO labour rights.

Cross-Cutting Trade Issues

The 12 teams are close to finalizing our work on cross-cutting issues that we believe are important to fully achieving the goals Leaders have set for TPP, and maximizing the potential benefits for our citizens from all the provisions of the agreement. 

  • Reinforcing other work in the agreement on standards and various regulatory issues, we have agreed on ways to improve our regulatory practices and encourage regulatory coherence, including through measures to promote transparency and conduct regulatory processes in a more trade-facilitative manner.
  • To promote further integration and competitiveness, we are near conclusion on work to deepen production and supply chains, and to ensure that the provisions of the agreement promote jobs in our markets.
  • Recognizing the important role that small- and medium-sized enterprises play in all our economies, we have agreed on ways to ensure that these businesses, which account for much of the job creation in many of our countries, can take full advantage of the agreement.
  • In order to ensure that increased trade and investment go hand in hand with benefits for our citizens, we have worked to develop commitments to ensure transparency and good governance, and strengthen anti-corruption efforts.
  • Promoting development and capacity building of current and future TPP countries is key to the success of the TPP, and we have agreed on ways to ensure that all 12 countries can realize the benefits of the agreement, including by provision of capacity building in areas that developing countries identify, transitions for commitments where capacity is still being developed, improving access to economic opportunity for women and low-income individuals, and incentivizing public-private partnerships. 

Living Agreement

We have continued to engage with economies that have expressed interest in joining TPP in the future.  Reflecting Leaders’ commitment to develop TPP as a potential platform that can expand participation to other economies across the region that are prepared to take on its high-standard commitments, we are close to agreement on the structure and process that will make the TPP a living agreement.  We also have advanced work across the agreement on how to ensure that TPP can continue to evolve as appropriate in response to future developments in trade, investment, technology, or other emerging issues and challenges, or areas of common interest. 

Next Steps

Given the significant progress on TPP since Leaders last met, and further acceleration of the pace of the negotiation in the run-up to this meeting in Beijing, Ministers have committed to redoubling our efforts to get the agreement over the finish line, recognizing that substance will drive the precise timing of conclusion.  Concluding a complex and ambitious agreement like TPP among countries that are as economically, developmentally, and geographically diverse as those in the TPP is challenging.  However, all 12 countries are committed to making completion of the negotiation a priority, and will dedicate the resources needed in order to do so, recognizing the important contribution TPP will make to our economic growth and development and to our competitiveness regionally and globally.  To do so, we will have to find compromises and to work pragmatically, flexibly, and creatively to find solutions that can address each of our needs while remaining steadfast to the high-standard and ambitious outcome that Leaders have identified as their shared goal.

Joint Statement of the Ministers and Heads of Delegation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Countries

October 27, 2014
Sydney, Australia

We, the Ministers and Heads of Delegation for Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam have completed our three-day ministerial meeting to lay the groundwork for the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations.  Our meeting followed a week of officials’ level discussions in Canberra, from 19-24 October 2014.

We are pleased to report that, over the past weeks, we have made significant progress on both component parts of the TPP Agreement: the market access negotiations and negotiations on the trade and investment rules, which will define, shape and integrate the TPP region once the agreement comes into force.

Over the course of our weekend meeting, we have spent a considerable portion of our time in one-on-one discussions.  That has allowed us to make further progress in the negotiations on market access for goods, services and investment.  We met in a plenary format to make decisions on a range of issues that will help set the stage to bring the TPP negotiations to finalization.

We consider that the shape of an ambitious, comprehensive, high standard and balanced deal is crystallizing.  We will continue to focus our efforts, and those of our negotiating teams, to consult widely at home and work intensely with each other to resolve outstanding issues in order to provide significant economic and strategic benefits for each of us.

We now pass the baton back to Chief Negotiators to carry out instructions we have given.

We will continue to build on the progress we made at this meeting and will meet again in the coming weeks.

Remarks By Ambassador Michael Froman at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Center for Strategic and International Studies Symposium on the TPP

The Strategic Importance of TPP

Washington, D.C.

September 18, 2014

*As Delivered*

“The stakes for U.S. trade policy have always reached beyond the economic realm. As nuclear strategist and Nobel Prize winning economist Thomas Schelling once noted, “Trade is what most of international relations are about. For that reason trade policy is national security policy.”

“What’s remarkable about Schelling’s observation is that it was made during an era when economic power was viewed largely as an ancillary power to military power. During the Cold War, and for much of the 20th century, economic policy – including trade policy – was seen largely as an enabler:  The role of a strong economy was to support a strong military.

“Military power still has deep economic roots, and as history has shown, when those roots dry up, it is not long before our military forces begin to wither as well. But the world has changed dramatically since Schelling’s time, and the sum of those changes has brought economic and strategic aspects of trade into even closer alignment.

“In the 21st century, the oldest and strongest strategic argument for trade – its contribution to the U.S. economy – has only grown stronger.  Increasingly, though, economic clout is a key yardstick by which power is measured and a principal means by which influence is exercised. Today, market changes are watched just as closely as military maneuvers, and decisions in boardrooms can matter as much as those made on battlefields.

“Strengthening the U.S. economy is not simply a means of enabling military might, but rather a key strategic goal in itself.  As such, it’s critical that we continue to evaluate trade agreements first and foremost on their economic merits.  Those agreements must support jobs, spur economic growth, and strengthen the middle class.

“For the United States, the economic merits of trade have never been clearer than they are now. Over the past five years, the increase in U.S. exports has generated nearly one-third of our economic growth, and over the past four years, this surge has supported 1.6 million new jobs.  Last year, U.S. exports hit an all-time high, $2.3 trillion dollars of U.S. goods and services, with record-breaking performances across the whole economy, from agriculture to manufacturing to services.

“Building on these successes, President Obama’s trade agenda aims to make the United States the world’s production platform of choice – the top destination for investment.  To paraphrase Chairman Wyden, we want to make it here, grow it here, add value to it here and sell it everywhere – sell it all over the world. 

“We already have many of the pieces in place: We are a $17 trillion economy, we have strong rule of law, a skilled and productive workforce, an entrepreneurial culture, and now new sources of abundant and affordable energy.

“Layered on top of this is a trade agenda that would give American businesses and workers unfettered access to two-thirds of the global economy, boosting investment and manufacturing policies that have already begun to bring manufacturing jobs back to our shores.

“The economic case for trade is the longest pole in the strategic tent, but the tent extends well beyond economics. U.S. trade policy is a central part of what may be the most consequential strategic project of our time: revitalizing the post-World War II international economic order.

“That order, as John [Hamre, President of CSIS] just said, has ushered in prosperity and peace and developed that is unparalleled in history, not only for the United States, but for every nation that has been willing to embrace the pillars of openness and fairness. In recent years, however, a series of seismic shocks – globalization, technological change, and the rise of emerging markets – have shaken the foundation of this order.

“We’re now engaged in a major effort to ensure that as the current order evolves, it continues to reflect our interests and our values, and that the United States continues to play a leading role in it. And trade is one of our most promising tools for that project. Now I could talk here today about T-TIP, TiSA, or ITA, or EGA or TFA, but I know you’ve gathered here to talk about TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and so I’ll focus on that as the perfect example of how the economic and strategic logic of U.S. trade policy are mutually reinforcing.   

“As you all know, TPP is an ambitious and comprehensive agreement that the United States and 11 other Asia-Pacific countries are trying to complete. Economically, TPP is an opportunity to bind together a group that represents 40 percent of global GDP.

“In today’s global economy, our workers and our firms are already competing against others who do not share our high standards in labor rights, environmental protections, intellectual property rights, a free and open internet, and other issues.

“By setting high standards, TPP will help level the playing field for American workers and businesses, who are among the most productive in the world.  We already know that when the game is fair, that we can compete and win.  And having already lowered most of our barriers, we stand to gain disproportionately from encouraging others to do the same.

“Those standards that we are seeking include are the highest labor and environmental standards of any trade agreement – standards that will be fully enforceable.  They include advancements in intellectual property rights protection, both to spur innovation and ensure access to it.  This agreement will include the first-ever disciplines on state-owned enterprises, which will ensure that when SOEs compete against private firms, they do so on a commercial basis.  And this agreement will break new ground by translating trade principles from the physical economy into the digital economy to ensure that there is a free and open Internet – which is so critical for small and medium-sized businesses being able to access the global market.

“These standards reflect both our values and our interests.  There are alternative models bring promoted as well.  Ones that are based more on mercantilist policies; ones that do not focus on labor and environmental standards; ones that do not focus on protecting intellectual property rights or leveling the playing field between State Owned Enterprises and private firms or maintaining a free and open Internet.  These models do not reflect our interests and our values. 

“So we want to see a race to the top, not a race to the bottom that we cannot win and should not try to run.

“But looking beyond just the trade elements, TPP is a central component of America’s rebalance to Asia.

“At a time when there are unresolved territorial and maritime disputes, TPP can reinforce our presence in the region and our interest in establishing methods of cooperation and mechanisms for resolving frictions.

“At a time when there are crises on multiple fronts, TPP can demonstrate that the United States is and always will be a Pacific power and be a concrete manifestation of our enduring commitment to the region.

“At a time when there is uncertainty about the direction of the global trading system, TPP can play a central role in setting rules of the road for a critical region in flux.

“The stakes for setting new rules of the road for the global trading system have never been clearer, and yet it has become increasingly difficult to do just that.  One barrier to progress has been the emergence of emerging economies that have been unwilling to date to assume enhanced responsibilities commensurate with their increased role in the global economy.

“At the WTO, for example, where recently we’ve seen a handful of countries block the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, which would have brought significant benefits to developing countries and developed countries alike by making border and customs procedures more efficient.

“In the face of these challenges, we must keep moving forward and working with others who share our commitment to setting higher standards.

“Motivated by these stakes, both economic and strategic, we’ve made substantial progress in the TPP negotiations to date. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it will take a final push, a collective effort, and a willingness to stretch to achieve an agreement that is consistent with our high ambitions.

“Central to that collective effort and the future of TPP are our ongoing negotiations with Japan.

“Japan asked to join TPP three years into the negotiations, after much consultation, based on its own assessment of its strategic and economic interests. Japan did so with a clear commitment to meet the same level of ambition as the rest of the TPP partners, and it on that basis that President Obama and the other TPP Leaders welcomed Japan’s participation. 

“But Japan’s entry into TPP was about more than just a commitment to its partners. It was about a bold and compelling vision laid out by Prime Minister Abe to end Japan’s prolonged period of stagnation by using structural reforms, as well as fiscal and monetary policy, to contribute to economic revitalization.

“Because Japan’s success is so important, we are all watching its economy very carefully.  The record is uncertain.  We’ve seen growth, and we’ve seen contraction.  Right now, in the final weeks of the third quarter, both internal and domestic demand are weak.  Real incomes and consumer spending are down.  And as Christine Lagarde at the IMF recently said, all of this puts a premium on Japan delivering on the third arrow of structural reform.

“In London, the Prime Minister said, “The Japan that I am pursuing is a Japan that leads to being wide open to the entire world.” 

“He asked, “How will we achieve growth? We will open up the country and open up Japan's markets. This is a philosophy that has coursed through my veins consistently ever since I entered politics.”

“This vision matches TPP both in its ambition and its objectives – to support growth and prosperity by unlocking new opportunities for business and workers as well as new benefits for consumers, to tap new sources of domestic demand, to implement reforms in key markets, and to spur productivity.

“It’s a vision that the United States has wholeheartedly supported not only because Japan is one of our closest allies, but also because its success as the world’s third largest economy is vitally important to the global economy.  Ending two decades of stagnation and returning Japan to a path of sustainable growth, based on domestic demand, is in everyone’s interests.

 “As Prime Minister Abe made clear, TPP has a key role to play in putting Japan on that path. 

“When talking about TPP, he said, “What is necessary for Japan's revival is a powerful catalyst that will restyle the old Japan and then make the ‘new’ Japan even stronger.”

 “But for TPP to succeed in being that catalyst, it needs be as bold as the Prime Minister’s vision.  It needs to be an ambitious, comprehensive and high-standard agreement. 

“We’re now at a critical juncture in this negotiation. We are working hard with Japan to achieve our shared objectives.  Now is the time for that bold vision to be translated into concrete progress at the negotiating table.  We know this is tough, but as the Prime Minister said, “there is no alternative.” 

“Undertaking this kind of structural reform is difficult.  We know.  We did it in autos, we did in in the financial sector, and we’ve done it in health care.  But it can be done with political will.  Quoting the Prime Minister one more time, “Achieving this will require robust political power that takes on vested interests.”

“We have worked well and hard with Japan in TPP, hand-in-hand, to promote strong rules that reflect our shared interests.  We look forward to doing the same to achieve the high level of ambition in terms of opening markets which reflects not only the commitment to all TPP members, but the vision that Prime Minister Abe and the Japanese people have for their own country.

“Now is the time.  From the United States’ perspective, there is no premium in delay.  Others are certainly not standing on the sidelines.

“The European Union is negotiating FTAs with Japan and Vietnam and finalizing a deal with Canada. 

“China is negotiating an FTA with Korea and Australia and, of course, RCEP.

“Australia recently concluded deals with Japan and Korea. 

“Right now, there are 500 million middle class consumers in the Asia-Pacific region.  That number is expected to grow to 2.7 billion by 2030.  They are going to want more protein, a higher nutrition, better and safer food.  They’re going to need everything from machinery to and consumer goods.  And they’re going to want a wide choice in services, from entertainment to health care.  We want to be part of their future.  The Made-In-America brand is a strong one.  And exporting more Made-in-America products drives the creation of good jobs here at home.

“The economic costs of failing to compete are clear. But consider also the strategic costs.

“The United States would forfeit its seat at the center of the global economy.  It would be left to be shaped by globalization, rather than be in a position to shape it.

“We’d watch standards deteriorate rather than improve, and that just cannot be in the interest of American workers and American firms.

“And we’d see our partnerships deprived of the strength that comes from enhanced economic engagements in a world that is increasingly unpredictable.

“As President Eisenhower warned Congress six decades ago, “If we fail in our trade policy, we may fail in all.  Our domestic employment, our standard of living, our security, and the solidarity of the free world – all are involved.”

“The stakes of our trade policy, economic and strategic, are even greater in this century than they were during the last. 

“Thank you very much.”

TPP Negotiators Make Important Progress on Agreement


Hanoi – Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) chief negotiators completed 10 days of intensive meetings today, making important progress across a range of issues as they continue their drive toward a comprehensive, high-standard agreement.

"We have committed to a focused work plan, which will allow us to boost momentum and make continued progress,” said Barbara Weisel, U.S. Chief Negotiator for TPP. "All countries involved want to reach a conclusion to unlock the enormous opportunity TPP represents.”

Through the TPP, the United States is working to establish a trade and investment framework in the dynamic Asia-Pacific region that supports U.S. job creation by expanding trade, which accounted for about a third of U.S. economic growth in the past five years.

The United States is also taking steps to establish innovative rules that promote core U.S. values in the agreement, such as transparency and good governance and strong and enforceable labor and environmental standards.

During the session in Hanoi, Vietnam, the United States and its TPP partners – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam – successfully resolved many issues and narrowed gaps in other areas.  The teams made important progress on State-owned enterprises, intellectual property, investment, rules of origin, transparency and anti-corruption, and labor.  They also continued to move forward with their work to construct ambitious packages for preferential access to each other’s markets for goods, services/investment, financial services, and government procurement.

Having reduced the number of outstanding issues, the United States and the other 11 TPP countries share a commitment to resolve the remaining issues as quickly as possible, including both on the text and market access packages.

To advance this work, Ambassador Michael Froman will work bilaterally with many of his TPP counterparts in the coming weeks.  Next week, he will meet with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Ninh in Washington, DC and other meetings with TPP ministers are expected to follow.

Joint Press Statement TPP Ministerial Meeting Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

The ministers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries have met jointly and bilaterally on August 22 and 23, 2013 to consider how to address key outstanding issues as negotiations toward a comprehensive, high-standard regional trade and investment agreement enter the final stage.   

Noting that the majority of issues are now at an advanced stage, the 12 countries – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam - have explored how to develop a mutually-acceptable package, including possible landing zones on remaining sensitive and challenging issues and sequencing of issues in the final talks.  Particular areas of focus have included matters related to market access for goods, services/investment, financial services, and government procurement as well as the texts covering intellectual property, competition, and environmental issues.  We also discussed the remaining outstanding issues on labor, dispute settlement, and other areas. 

This meeting of TPP Ministers has taken place as the 19th round of TPP negotiations gets underway in order to offer guidance to negotiators and help drive the negotiations to conclusion on the 2013 timeframe instructed by our Leaders.  We discussed how best to achieve an outcome consistent with our common goal of achieving an ambitious and balanced 21st-century agreement that will enhance trade and investment among us, promote innovation, economic growth and development, and support the creation and retention of jobs in our countries. 

We have agreed to maintain our active engagement in the lead-up to the APEC Leaders meeting in Bali, Indonesia, on the margins of which TPP Leaders are expected to meet as they have in past years.  This meeting will be an important milestone as the 12 countries work intensively to conclude this landmark agreement.

TPP Negotiators Press Ahead in Malaysia, Welcome Japan’s Entry

from USTR - Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia – Officials reported today that they achieved further strong progress at the 18th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, which ended today, keeping their eyes fixed on the goal set by President Obama and the other TPP Leaders of concluding a high-standard, comprehensive agreement this year, while welcoming Japan’s entry into the negotiations. Through the TPP, the United States is seeking to advance a 21st-century trade and investment framework that will boost competitiveness, expand trade and investment with the robust economies of the Asia Pacific, and support the creation and retention of U.S. jobs, while promoting core U.S. principles on labor rights, environmental protection, and transparency.

Following the guidance of the trade ministers from the United States and the other TPP countries prior to this round – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam – the negotiating groups covering market access, rules of origin, technical barriers to trade, investment, financial services, e-commerce, and transparency reached agreement on a wide range of technical issues in the legal texts of these chapters, which set the rules that govern the conduct of their trade and investment relations. They also found common ground on issues that allowed them to make progress in the negotiating groups covering intellectual property, competition, and environment. In addition, each group developed a detailed plan for closing remaining issues and completing their work.

The negotiators also moved ahead in their efforts to construct the ambitious packages that will provide access to their respective markets for industrial, agricultural and textile and apparel products, services and investment, and government procurement. They agreed on next steps and an overall plan for achieving these market access outcomes in the timeframe agreed by Leaders.

Throughout the talks, negotiators reflected the wide range of views provided to them by their stakeholders on the best pathway to promote trade and investment, regional integration, and jobs in the United States and the other TPP countries. The TPP negotiations were temporarily adjourned on July 20 so the delegates could listen to and share information with more than 200 stakeholders from the United States and across the TPP region. Stakeholders also met informally with U.S. and other negotiators to provide further detailed information. U.S. chief negotiator Barbara Weisel and her fellow TPP chief negotiators also briefed stakeholders on the status of the negotiations and responded to their questions on specific issues and the process going forward.

On July 23, the United States and the other TPP countries welcomed Japan as the 12th member of the negotiations, following the successful completion of the respective domestic procedures of the United States and the other existing TPP members. Japan received detailed updates on the status of the negotiations and participated actively in the work of the negotiating groups that were meeting on those dates, expressing its commitment to integrate quickly and smoothly into the process. With Japan’s entry, TPP countries now account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP and about one-third of all world trade.

Ministers from the TPP countries have been in close touch on TPP over the past month. Over the past week, USTR Froman met in Washington with Vietnamese Trade Minister Hoang, Bruneian Trade Minister Pehin Lim, and Japanese Minister for the Economy, Trade and Industry Motegi, and spoke by phone with Director General Jana of Chile’s trade ministry (DIRECON) and Mexican Economy Minister Guajardo. Additionally, Ambassador Froman met with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang during President Sang’s visit to Washington, D.C. this week.

Ambassador Froman and the other TPP ministers plan to engage regularly in the coming weeks ahead of the next round to find solutions to the sensitive issues that remain, guide the work of negotiators, and keep the negotiations moving expeditiously toward a high-standard outcome the TPP Leaders agreed to seek.

The 19th round of TPP negotiations will be held in Brunei from August 22-30.

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,

USTR Public Hearing on the TPP and Canada

USTR Holds Public Hearing on Mexico and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

14th Round

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.

NZ stands ground on Trans Pacific Partnership - Draft of copyright chapter in negotiating text for trade agreement shows NZ holding the line for permitted uses of copyright

Adams says US pushing Hollywood agendas overseas - Submissions on fee for illegal file sharing notices made public; RIANZ advocates filter

"A Fair Deal" lobby groupdetails how TPP will hit NZ Business, everyday life

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

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.
1. U.S. Chamber Says Japan’s Intention to Join TPP Sends Positive Message to Negotiations

2. U.S. Chamber Welcomes TPP Leaders' Statement as a 'Positive Step Forward'
A full copy of our press clips from the trip can be found here.
II US Chamber to Respond to Federal Register Notices Requesting Comments on Potential New Entrants
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.

 V Conclusion

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.