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US Reports 'Further Strong Progress' In TPP Talks

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

29 July 2013

The office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has reported that further strong progress was achieved at the 18th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, which was held in Malaysia and ended on July 25.

It was said that the treaty's negotiators kept their eyes fixed on the goal set by President Obama and the other TPP Leaders of concluding a comprehensive agreement this year, while also welcoming Japan's entry into the negotiations.

The extension of the TPP is currently being led by the US, together with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. On July 23, Japan was welcomed as the 12th member of the negotiations, following the successful completion of the respective domestic procedures of the US and the other existing TPP members.

Japan received detailed updates on the status of the negotiations and participated actively in the work of the negotiating groups that were meeting on those dates, expressing its commitment to integrate quickly and smoothly into the process. With Japan's entry, TPP countries now account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP and about one-third of all world trade.

Following the guidance of the countries' trade ministers prior to the round, the negotiating groups covering market access, rules of origin, technical barriers to trade, investment, financial services, e-commerce and transparency reached agreement on a wide range of technical issues in their legal texts. In addition, each group developed a detailed plan for closing remaining issues and completing their work.

The negotiators also moved ahead in their efforts to construct the ambitious packages that will provide tariff reductions and access to their respective markets for industrial, agricultural and textile and apparel products. They were also said to have agreed on the next steps and an overall plan for achieving these market access outcomes in the timeframe agreed by Leaders.

It was confirmed that the USTR, Michael Froman, and trade ministers from the other TPP countries plan to engage regularly in the coming weeks ahead of the 19th round, to be held in Brunei from August 22-30, 2013, to find solutions to the sensitive issues that remain.

TAGS: tax | business | Brunei | Chile | commerce | financial services | tariffs | trade treaty | Australia | Mexico | Singapore | agreements | e-commerce | Canada | Malaysia | New Zealand | Peru | United States | import duty | trade | Japan | Vietnam | services

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