TPP Leaders Announce Broad Outline of Agreement; Japan, Canada and Mexico Express Interest
November 15, 2011
On November 12, 2011, the leaders of the nine countries currently participating in negotiations to form the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement released a broad outline for the final agreement. The White House characterized the still evolving TPP agreement as a “next-generation regional agreement to liberalize trade and investment and address new and traditional trade issues and 21st-century challenges.” Following nine rounds of negotiations, the TPP Trade Ministers reported to TPP Leaders a broad outline which includes the following five definitive features:
(1) Comprehensive Market Access – to eliminate tariffs and other barriers to goods and services trade and investment
(2) Fully Regional Agreement – to facilitate the development of production and supply chains among TPP members
(3) Cross-Cutting Trade Issues – to build on work being done in APEC and other fora by incorporating in TPP the following four new, cross-cutting issues: regulatory coherence, competitiveness and business facilitation, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, and Development
(4) New Trade Challenges – to promote trade and investment in innovative products and services, including those related to the digital economy and green technologies, and to ensure a competitive business environment across the TPP region
(5) Living Agreement – to enable the updating of the agreement as appropriate to address trade issues that emerge in the future as well as new issues that arise with the expansion of the agreement to include new countries
The TPP Leaders have instructed their negotiating teams to meet in early December to continue working on the agreement and to schedule 2012 negotiating rounds.
In addition to the TPP Leaders’ recent progress announcement, the leaders of Japan, Canada and Mexico have all recently expressed interest in joining the TPP negotiations. On Friday, November 11th, shortly before the beginning of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Hawaii, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced Japan’s intent to participate in the TPP talks. Canada and Mexico subsequently announced interest in joining the talks. US Trade Representative Ron Kirk issued a statement welcoming their interest in the talks and in beginning consultations with TPP countries. In order to join the negotiations, Japan, Canada and Mexico each need the approval of the nine current TPP negotiation members. The current TPP negotiation members are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.
For further information, continue to visit www.barnesrichardson.com or contact a Barnes/Richardson attorney.