Today in Kazan, Russia, trade ministers from the nine Trans-Pacific Partnership countries - Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam - gathered on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum's meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT). All of the TPP partners are also APEC economies.
The ministers took stock of the status of TPP negotiations, which are scheduled to continue next month in San Diego, California, and of the work ahead. They welcomed the solid progress made so far this year and instructed negotiators to work to close as much of the legal text of the agreement as possible during the next round. Negotiators are working to complete an agreement as quickly as possible as directed by TPP Leaders at Honolulu; again today, the ministers confirmed that the substance of negotiators' progress toward a comprehensive, high-standard, 21st-century agreement must drive the timing of TPP's conclusion.
In the same meeting, ministers again welcomed the interest of Canada, Japan, and Mexico in joining the TPP and discussed the progress of each TPP country's respective bilateral consultations with Canada, Japan, and Mexico. No decisions were made on the entry of any of these TPP candidates, as consultations will continue following this APEC MRT meeting. The decision to admit new members to the TPP must be made by a consensus of the current members.
The ministers expressed their intent to remain in close contact over the coming weeks and months to ensure achievement of the TPP Leaders' objectives for the agreement.