The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative reports progress in Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations after a round of discussions concluded Saturday in Washington, D.C. None of the participants, however, have released the details of that proclaimed progress, and a conclusion to negotiations isn’t envisioned until sometime next year despite the hopes of the Obama Administration. As yet, however, none of the 29 chapters in the agreement has been finalized.
Specifically, the USTR says notable headway was made in customs, telecommunications, sanitary and phytosanitary issues, technical barriers to trade, cross border services, and labor. Chief negotiators also discussed approaches for resolving challenges on e-commerce and legal and institutional issues, and met with the negotiating groups covering market access for goods and government procurement, where progress was reported on issues involving industrial goods, agricultural products and textiles, as well as government procurement. The U.S. representatives also discussed strategies to resolve the trade issues posed by state-owned enterprises.
TPP negotiations are continuing this week on investment, financial services and the environment. Groups on intellectual property and rules of origin will meet in Mexico and Canada, respectively. Strategies to conclude the negotiations this year are expected to be discussed when the TPP ministers and leaders meet at the APEC’s Bali meeting in early October.
As negotiators were meeting in Washington, Commerce Department Secretary Penny Pritzker was engaged in high level economic development discussions in Mexico City. The plan is organized around promoting competitiveness and connectivity; fostering economic growth, productivity, entrepreneurship, and innovation; and partnering for regional and global leadership.
Discussions with Mexico focused upon strategies to attract foreign direct investment, jointly promote travel and tourism, improve manufacturing within integrated supply chains, promote entrepreneurship and provide 21stcentury workforce development. Discussions also included improving transportation and telecommunications links and networks.