Melbourne, Australia - A United States negotiating team has begun the first round of talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement in Melbourne, Australia today. The 22-member team, led by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Barbara Weisel, will engage counterparts from Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam on creating a regional Asia-Pacific trade agreement.
"Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations offer a unique opportunity to shape a high-standard, broad-based regional pact. In line with the President's goal of supporting two million additional American jobs through exports, a robust TPP agreement would expand our exports to one of the world's fastest-growing regions," said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. "Our team's aim is to achieve the biggest economic benefits for the American people, and these negotiators will be working to set a new standard for 21st century trade pacts."
Weisel is joined by four additional Assistant U.S. Trade Representatives: Lewis Karesh (Labor), Mark Linscott (Environment and Natural Resources), Stanford McCoy (Intellectual Property Rights), and Gail Strickler (Textiles). During the first round of negotiations, the U.S. team expects to gather facts and exchange views on negotiating approaches and new cross-cutting issues with the other TPP participants. They do not expect to discuss text or market access offers during this round. The week-long negotiations will conclude on Friday, March 19.