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"In Pacific pact, Obama aims to shape 21st century trade"

Ambassador Kirk met with Congressional Leaders on Wednesday to discuss U.S. negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and USTR negotiators are headed to Melbourne, Australia for talks next week. Read excerpts of a Reuters article about TPP talks below, and the full article here.

"President Barack Obama... aims to reshape the rules for international trade and shore up the U.S economic position in Asia with talks starting on Monday on a Pacific trade pact.

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On Monday, the first round of TPP talks begins in Melbourne with four countries with which the United States already has free trade agreements -- Australia, Chile, Singapore and Peru -- and three it does not -- Brunei Darussalam, New Zealand and Vietnam.

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With the TPP, the idea is to expand an agreement between New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and Chile into a broader regional pact that advocates hope one day could also include China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and other major economies on both sides of the Asia Pacific.

U.S. priorities include promoting clean energy and other emerging economic sectors, gaining new exports for its manufacturers, farmers and service providers and boosting protections for U.S. intellectual property rights."