The United States and its Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) partners concluded a ninth round of negotiations in Lima, Peru. During this round, negotiators built upon progress made in previous rounds and pressed forward toward the goal of reaching the broad outlines of an ambitious, jobs-focused agreement by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii next month. At APEC, President Obama and his counterparts from the other eight TPP countries will take stock of progress to date and discuss next steps.
TPP negotiators from the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam made further considerable progress on the legal texts of the agreement, as well as on the cross-cutting issues of small- and medium-sized enterprises, regulatory coherence, competitiveness, and development. With further domestic consultation on outstanding issues, the nine countries will move toward closure of a number of chapters. On more complex and sensitive chapters countries need more time to find convergence.
Before this round, the United States also put forward its new proposed text on state-owned enterprises, on which the teams had constructive initial discussions. This text was prepared in close consultation with U.S. stakeholders and Congress. The text is intended to help level the playing field for U.S. exporters and workers by addressing distortions to trade and competition that result from unfair advantages governments provide to these enterprises. The United States also tabled new text on labor, and the teams had a productive exchange on this issue as well.
The TPP member countries continued to make steady progress on the packages they are negotiating for access to each other’s markets. In addition to meeting collectively, the United States and its partners met bilaterally to advance discussions of these elements of the negotiations. Countries plan to prepare revised offers based on these discussions and requests made for improvements in specific areas, continuing the process of building up an ambitious market access outcome.
Nearly 200 stakeholders were on-site during the negotiations and many made presentations to the nine negotiating teams during a day-long stakeholder forum. Stakeholders also participated in an event on creating opportunities for small-and medium-sized enterprises to develop business in TPP countries. In addition, stakeholders met with individual negotiating teams to provide their views on specific issues.
The U.S. and other negotiating teams will return to their respective capitals and update their Ministers on the specific outcomes of their work over the nine negotiating rounds, in preparation for assessment by the nine Leaders at the APEC meeting.