Washington, DC – Deputy United States Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis this morning updated the Washington International Trade Association on progress in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. U.S. negotiators will travel to Lima, Peru, next week for a ninth round of talks, with the goal of reaching the broad outlines of a TPP agreement by the APEC Leaders’ November meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. Here are key excerpts of Ambassador Marantis’s prepared remarks:
“Two years ago next month, President Obama and Ambassador Kirk announced in Singapore the Administration’s decision to join the TPP. We said we envisioned TPP as a platform for regional economic integration across the Asia-Pacific region. We also said that we would engage stakeholders more actively leading up to and during TPP negotiations, in a transparent and serious way. We have followed through.”
“We have tabled text in more than twenty negotiating groups, including market access, financial services, intellectual property rights, government procurement, investment, and environment.
“In every negotiating group, we are looking for new and innovative approaches. For example, we are looking at treatment of cross-border data flows as a trade issue, and the increasingly common problem of “indigenous innovation” measures that disadvantage U.S. technology by forcing U.S. investors to favor another country’s domestic technology.
“We are also working on new and more creative ways to strengthen American innovation and creativity, while working with our trading partners to crack down on counterfeiting and piracy and fostering respect for the intellectual property rights.
“We are including new obligations in TPP that address illegal trade in fisheries, wildlife, and logging.
“There are also entirely new issues on the negotiating table. In Lima, we are tabling new text to address unfair advantages given to state-owned enterprises, an issue that has united labor and business groups in the United States.
“For the first time in any trade agreement, we are promoting good regulatory practices by tabling regulatory coherence text. And we are discussing cross-cutting horizontal issues like regional production and supply chains, development, and small- and medium-sized businesses.
“Small and medium-sized enterprises are major job-creators domestically, but minimally engaged in international trade. We are looking at trade and investment barriers that hit SMEs hardest – such as lack of transparency, complex legal frameworks – and finding ways to eliminate or minimize those barriers.”
“We have accomplished a lot and come a long way. But let me be clear. We are engaged in some very difficult work. And we have more hard work ahead of us.
“Even as we are moving negotiations forward, we are having some pretty lively discussions here at home. … This is the hard part. But nothing worth doing was ever easy. And TPP is certainly worth doing. The American economy needs TPP for its job- and growth-generating potential. The American economy needs TPP to help it embrace the world’s most dynamic region. And we need TPP to inject new important ideas into global trade policy.”
“I can tell you that we are on track to fulfill the mandate set out for us, to reach the broad outlines of an agreement by the APEC Leaders’ summit in Honolulu.
“Next week our negotiating team leaves for our ninth TPP negotiating round in Peru. In Lima, we expect to continue to make further steady progress. Negotiators’ goal is to come out with a clear view of where things stand at the close of the Lima Round, in order to craft a clear report to the Leaders in the following days for assessment in Hawaii.
“… Everyone should realize this: there will be outstanding work beyond Hawaii. But we are committed to seeing this negotiation through. Passage of the FTAs this week has buoyed the trade agenda. We are looking forward to Lima and then Honolulu.”