Washington, DC – The recent negotiations between the 12 Pacific Rim nations crafting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement “made significant progress” on proposed rules for state-owned enterprises despite differences over tariffs remaining one of the obstacles to a final deal.
Spanning ten days in Hanoi, the talks “spent successive rounds trying to narrow the gaps,” said US delegation leader, Barbara Weisel, US Trade Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
The TPP would create a free-trade zone from Australia to Peru with $28 trillion in economic output, or 39 percent of the global total. The deal is seen as a major component of the White House’s effort to bolster boost US exports.
The pact, would be the biggest trade deal in US history. The TPP “goes beyond typical trade agreements that focus on reducing tariffs, and highlights issues such as stricter safeguards for patents and copyrights and leveling the playing field for companies that compete with government-backed businesses,” said Weisel.
Responding to the status of the TPP talks, US Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant said, “Now is the time to seize upon the extensive economic benefits that the TPP offers every participating country.”
All parties to the negotiations, he said following a recent USCOC event, “must show the political courage required to make the hard decisions needed to conclude the TPP negotiations soon, as this will not get any easier with time.”
Commenting on what he called the “importance of crafting a high-standard, comprehensive trade agreement,” Brilliant said, “If Japan, the United States, or any negotiating partner cannot meet the high standards of the TPP on market access or rules, then the overall ambition of the agreement will be lowered to the detriment of every nation’s interests. We should all guard against that outcome.”
The proposed TPP’s geopolitical importance, he concluded, “is unmistakable. While we must not subordinate commercial priorities to foreign policy goals, the TPP’s geostrategic importance should strengthen our resolve to achieve an ambitious, comprehensive agreement.”
The countries covered by the trade pact are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the US.
China, which has been excluded from the TPP, is separately moving on trade talks with countries such as South Korea, Japan and Australia.