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US Confirms TPP Not Aimed Against China

by Leroy Baker,, New York

09 January 2012

At the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington to launch a speaker series entitled the "Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Recovery through Growth in Asia and the Next Generation of Regional Trade Agreements", the Deputy National Security Adviser Michael Froman explored issues of trade, as well as the overall role and influence of the United States, in the Asia-Pacific region.

Firstly, he said that the proposed extension to the TPP, which the countries negotiating it - Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam - have said will cover "core" issues traditionally included in trade agreements, such as the elimination of tariffs and other non-tariff barriers, as well as rules on intellectual property, labour and the environment, is not directly aimed against the interests of China.

However, the US sees the TPP as central to its renewal interest in the Asia-Pacific region, and Froman pointed out that, in areas where the US has been critical of China recently, for example in the role of state-owned enterprises, the TPP is to establish rigorous trade rules to protect US manufacturing and jobs.

He also confirmed that the target of the US is to have the final text of the TPP agreement ready by the end of this year, although he foresaw that negotiations could continue into 2013. He disclosed that the US has no plans to enter into bilateral trade talks with single Asia-Pacific countries, while the TPP negotiations continue.

Froman said he did not think that the requests by Japan, Canada and Mexico to join those negotiations would delay the TPP agreement, as consultations with the three countries on whether they were willing and able to cover all the issues to be included in the new TPP could run concurrently with the main talks. He also expressed the US government’s view that the more countries in the Asia-Pacific that applied to join the TPP, the better it would be.

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

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