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In Recognition of Sunshine Week, USTR Highlights Progress on its Open Gov “Flagship Initiative”

On December 14, 2009, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk notified Congress that President Obama intended to enter into negotiations of a regional, Asia-Pacific trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. The Administration is working with its TPP partners to develop an agreement that reflects this Administration’s trade priorities, including job creation and retention, integrating U.S. companies into Asia-Pacific production and supply chains, promoting new technologies and emerging economic sectors, and boosting small businesses, all while promoting environmental protection and conservation, transparency, worker rights, and development.

USTR’s Open Government Flagship Initiative focuses on the TPP negotiations and USTR’s efforts to engage with stakeholders throughout the negotiation process. Since the U.S.-hosted second round of TPP talks in San Francisco, California in June 2010, interested stakeholders have been invited to negotiation rounds all over the world for on-site briefings by USTR senior staff. Individual and group meetings are held as requested on a variety of areas of interest. Stakeholders have also delivered on-site presentations – sometimes in the negotiating rooms – to trade negotiators from the participating TPP economies. These briefings and presentations give USTR and other countries the opportunity to hear from people who are interested in both the early shaping and the outcomes of this agreement. The stakeholders' presence also has allowed stakeholders to present their views directly to the delegations of the other TPP countries.

The United States and Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam recently concluded the fifth round of TPP negotiations in Santiago, Chile. As in previous rounds, the teams received input from a wide range of representatives of business, civil society and other stakeholder groups on a variety of issues. The next round will take place in Singapore later this month.

Along with a 50-state outreach strategy, USTR updates the public during every round of negotiations. Whether through on-site and post-negotiation briefings or online blog posts, USTR staff constantly works to engage with constituents on the TPP. USTR also uses social media to answer questions and host online chats, as well as provide information regarding outreach events that the public can attend.