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Headway at Negotiating Round in Melbourne Keeps Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Track

March 09, 2012

Melbourne, Australia – The United States said today that TPP partners – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam – made further strong headway during the eleventh round of negotiations that concluded today in Melbourne, Australia. With this progress, TPP negotiators remain on track to conclude negotiation of a comprehensive, 21st-century agreement. Conclusion of a robust TPP agreement is an important element of the Obama Administration’s plan to support high-quality jobs for Americans by increasing U.S. exports to the fast-growing Asia Pacific region.

During this nine-day negotiating round, more than 20 working groups met to discuss the legal texts of the agreement, which cover all aspects of our commercial relations with TPP partner countries. Notable progress was made across the full range of chapters, including on trade issues traditionally included in trade agreements as well as cross-cutting issues such as regulatory coherence, better integration of small and medium-sized businesses into international trade, deepening of regional supply linkages between TPP countries, and promoting development. Productive exchanges also took place on emerging trade issues such as addressing trade and investment in innovative products and services, including digital technology, and ensuring state-owned enterprises compete fairly with private companies.

In addition, the nine TPP countries discussed market access packages, including the improved offers for services and government procurement presented by various TPP countries. They also continued work on the high-ambition tariff packages on industrial goods, agricultural products and textiles.

As at previous TPP rounds, stakeholders were invited to engage with negotiators on-site during the round. More than 250 stakeholders from the United States and the other TPP countries participated at events in Melbourne. On March 4, the Australian government hosted a stakeholder forum, which included presentations by businesses, civil society, and academic groups. Separately, the Obama Administration has engaged in unprecedented public consultation as it has developed its negotiating positions for the TPP.

To ensure continued progress toward a next-generation agreement, the teams reviewed their roadmaps for work going forward and agreed to an intersessional work program for each negotiating group to build on the progress made this week. The next formal round will take place in May.