TPP Round 8: The Bell Has Rung, Another Round is Over
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The Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiators dropped their gloves on Thursday after ten straight days of negotiations which were described as “intensive and fruitful”.
In a statement released yesterday, USTR said “This has been a productive round with progress made toward the goal of concluding an ambitious, 21st-century agreement that will enhance trade and investment among the TPP partner countries and support economic growth and development and support the creation and retention of jobs.”
Eight rounds may seem like a reasonable time-frame for concluding a trade agreement. The bilateral FTA with Korea was done in eight.
But this is not a bilateral agreement. The TPP is a regional trade pact between nine countries (U.S., Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam) which are as diverse in their current trading relationships as they are in their economic development. And as we mentioned earlier this week, in addition to the regular framework of an FTA, we are negotiating additional new chapters such as regulatory coherence.
It is a tall order. Negotiators have set the goal of reaching the “broad outlines of an agreement” by the APEC leaders’ meeting in Hawaii this November. We hope that under this definition, the majority of the text will be concluded making it possible to complete the entire agreement in 2012.
The bell sounds again Oct 19-26, in Lima, Peru, where the ninth round of negotiations will be held. The Chamber will stay engaged in the lead up to these talks and continue to push for a high-standard and comprehensive agreement.