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Today at the eighth round of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations in Chicago, IL, two remaining negotiating groups held talks on non-conforming measures and trade remedies.
The round concludes today after 10 days of intensive and fruitful talks. 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.
Negotiators sought to make progress on the legal texts of the more than 20 chapters of the agreement this week. With additional text put forward this round, there are now consolidated texts in most areas. Many chapters, including Customs, Technical Barriers to Trade, Telecommunications, Government Procurement, and the horizontal or 21st-century issues of small- and medium-sized enterprises, regulatory coherence, competitiveness, and development, are moving toward closure. Progress was also made on texts for somewhat longer and more complex chapters such as Intellectual Property and Investment.
Negotiators also sought to make progress on the packages for access to industrial, agricultural, and textile and apparel products as well as to government procurement markets. These detailed negotiations require agreement by each country on trade on some 11,000 tariff lines, as well as the rules of origin associated with them; trade and investment in all service sectors, from telecommunications and financial services to energy, professional and distribution services; and reciprocal access to each others’ government procurement markets. Progress was made, but the TPP teams are still looking for improvements in the packages to achieve the high level of ambition envisioned.
In some areas, further text will be tabled in the coming weeks, including text the United States is preparing on labor and state-owned enterprises. In the meantime, the labor and competition groups’ robust discussions in Chicago will ease the path forward when text is tabled.
More than 250 stakeholders accepted the U.S. Government’s invitation to be on-site at the talks this week. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel addressed stakeholders on Friday evening; on Saturday, 57 stakeholder groups made presentations to TPP negotiators.
Negotiators have been directed to reach the broad outlines of an agreement by the APEC leaders’ meeting in Honolulu. The United States’ team is eager to synthesize the good work done to date and to shape it into a strong submission to the APEC Leaders in November