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TPP Misses End-Year Deadline

by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong

12 December 2013


While the joint statement issued after the latest Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Ministerial meeting in Singapore talked of the "substantial progress" made towards completing the agreement, it is apparent that the hoped-for year-end completion date has had to be missed.

Following the end of their four-day meeting on December 10, the Ministers of the proposed TPP member countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam – confirmed that they have "identified potential 'landing zones' for the majority of key outstanding issues in the text," and that they will "continue to work with flexibility to finalize these text issues as well as market access issues."

They added that they have decided to continue intensive work in the coming weeks toward such an agreement, and that, following additional work by negotiators, they intend to meet again next month.

However, it had previously been indicated that the meeting in Singapore would announce the finalization of the TPP agreement, and, in part due to a lack of information on the talks, opposition is now becoming more vocal in various countries as to where the secret talks are leading in such matters as investor-state dispute settlement, labor and environmental standards and internet privacy, as well as on tariff issues, such as on Japanese agricultural products.

In addition, there appear to be specific issues that need to be resolved in the US with regard to the TPP, particularly in respect of a perceived lack of consultation between the Administration and Congress.

For example, the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee's Ranking Member Sander Levin emphasized, following the Singapore meeting, that "in the period ahead it is critically important that Congress be fully informed and actively and meaningfully involved as to strategy and substance as the US negotiators work to bring these issues to an effective conclusion ... Congress as a whole must be a full partner in the development and oversight of trade agreements."

TAGS: environment | tax | Brunei | Chile | law | tariffs | trade treaty | Australia | Mexico | Singapore | agreements | internet | Canada | Malaysia | New Zealand | Peru | United States | standards | trade | Japan | Vietnam

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