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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States and the other Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam – concluded the fourth round of negotiations in Auckland, New Zealand today, continuing to make steady progress across the range of issues under discussion.
Noting that President Obama and the other TPP Leaders instructed them to conclude the negotiations as swiftly as possible, the negotiators pressed ahead in the 24 negotiating groups. The teams advanced their work to develop the legal texts in each area that will detail the rights and obligations each country will assume, covering the full scope of commercial and trade-related issues between the countries. They also finalized technical details necessary to prepare initial goods market access offers, which countries plan to exchange in January.
In addition, the TPP countries made solid progress in further framing the new horizontal, cross-cutting issues that will feature in the TPP Agreement. These include such issues as promoting connectivity to deepen the links of U.S. companies to the emerging production and distribution networks in the Asia-Pacific; making the regulatory systems of TPP countries more compatible so U.S. companies can operate more seamlessly in TPP markets; helping small- and medium-sized enterprises, which are a key source of innovation and job creation, participate more actively in international trade; and supporting development.
The negotiating teams received input during the week by more than 100 stakeholders from business groups, NGOs and academics from five TPP countries. The ongoing engagement between the negotiators and stakeholders on key issues has informed the negotiations and provided concrete proposals on how to facilitate balanced trade and advance issues of common interest to the nine TPP countries.
The teams left Auckland with a full agenda of work that they agreed to complete ahead of the next round in Santiago, Chile in February. The U.S. team will continue its close consultations with Congress and stakeholders as it prepares to undertake this work and as we seek to craft an agreement that addresses the issues that U.S. businesses and workers are facing today.