Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
Photo credit: Adam.J.W.C. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bondi_1.jpg
Fifth round of Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Negotiations
Chile hosted the fifth round of TPP negotiations in Santiago from 14-18 February 2011, with the nine TPP countries (Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, Vietnam) advancing further toward their goal of developing a high quality, comprehensive, 21st century regional trade agreement.
Draft text was under discussion in most of the 24 negotiating groups, and officials undertook careful review of text proposals made by each country. Having consolidated the proposals made to date by all parties, negotiators worked through the texts, seeking to narrow differences between them and to consider the interests and concerns of each country.
Market access negotiations on goods tariffs commenced in Santiago, following the exchange of initial offers by all nine parties in January 2011. Goods negotiators agreed to exchange lists of requests for improvements in these initial offers next month ahead of the next round in Singapore at the end of March. Officials also progressed discussions on how best to develop a TPP rule of origin, a key element of building a regional trade agreement, and agreed to exchange proposed product-specific rules of origin in early March. Australia will continue to push for maximum tariff elimination over time and regional rules of origin that facilitate more efficient and streamlined supply chains for business in the Asia-Pacific.
TPP Parties also agreed to exchange initial market access offers on services, investment and government procurement before the next round of negotiations. Services and investment offers will be made on a negative list basis, to all TPP parties. Australia's offers are being prepared taking into consideration input from stakeholders in public consultations to date, and in close consultation with state and territory governments. We welcome any further feedback from stakeholders with regard to these issues, including identification of offensive interests in particular TPP markets. Australia will be looking for high quality initial offers from TPP parties that minimise restrictions on foreign investment and foreign services suppliers, and provide maximum transparency and certainty for business.
The negotiating group responsible for the new, cross-cutting, 21st century issues that are being explored in the negotiations analysed the proposals under discussion in each negotiating group and focussed on:
- a proposal for promoting competitiveness and facilitating business in the region;
- how to promote the participation of small- and medium-sized businesses in international trade;
- how to deepen the production and supply chain linkages between TPP countries;
- how to enhance the coherence of the regulatory systems of the TPP countries to better facilitate trade; and
- how to promote development.
As in previous negotiating rounds, TPP officials received input from a wide range of representatives of business, civil society and other stakeholder groups on a variety of issues. Participating stakeholders made presentations throughout the week in a program that ran parallel to the negotiations on issues ranging from labour law and practice, to intellectual property and financial services. The ongoing engagement with stakeholders from all TPP countries continues to provide valuable input to the negotiations.
The next round of TPP negotiations is scheduled to take place at the end of March in Singapore. Dates are yet to be confirmed as TPP parties agreed in Santiago to extend the length of the round so that negotiators would have more time to make progress in each group. This reflects the decision of the nine TPP Leaders to make maximum headway by the time of the APEC Leaders' meeting in Honolulu in November 2011. We will provide further information on dates and any stakeholder program for the Singapore round on our website when they are available.
Australia's negotiating team continues to welcome the input of stakeholders in our public consultation process. The next set of public consultations in capital cities is planned for April/May 2011. Further information on these consultations will be sent to stakeholders after the next round of negotiations. Written submissions are encouraged at any time, and negotiators are available to meet with interested stakeholders on relevant issues upon request. We remain particularly interested to talk with companies or individuals regarding any specific market access restrictions or obstacles faced in TPP countries. To make submissions or appointments, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org