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Important Progress Made at TPP Talks in San Diego

07/10/2012

San Diego, California - 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.