SAPPORO – Ministers of the eight Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries met in Sapporo today on the margins of the APEC Trade Ministers meeting to exchange views and provide guidance to negotiators ahead of the second round of TPP negotiations. The Ministers affirmed their enthusiasm for the initiative, which they see as a strong platform for Asia-Pacific economic integration, and discussed how best to achieve their mutual goal of concluding a high-standard, 21st-century trade agreement.
Joining the meeting were Australian Minister for Trade Simon Crean, Brunei Darussalam Ministry of Trade and Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Chilean Vice Minister of Trade Jorge Bunster, New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser, Peruvian Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism Martin Perez, Singaporean Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis, and Vietnamese Vice Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu.
The TPP ministers underscored the importance of reaching meaningful outcomes in all areas typically included in high-standard FTAs. They also directed negotiators to be open and creative as they seek to develop proposals in new areas, including regulatory coherence, regional integration, development competitiveness, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and transparency. The ministers instructed negotiators to seek consensus on the relationship between the TPP and the pre-existing FTAs among them. In addition, they stressed the importance of carefully considering input from stakeholders as they seek to shape an agreement that reflects their common priorities and the way companies expect to do business in the years ahead.
The TPP ministers discussed goals for the second TPP negotiating round set for the week of June 14 in San Francisco. The ministers directed negotiators to work expeditiously as they continue their negotiations and to build on the momentum established during the first round in March in Melbourne, Australia. Ministers also considered the question of participation by additional countries and expressed their interest in further expanding the group to countries that are ready and willing to meet the objectives they have set for the agreement.