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Washington Outlook Archive

United States Hosts Negotiations On Trans-Pacific Trade Pact

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Trade ministers from the United States and seven other nations on June 14 opened a second round of negotiations on a proposed Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP) aimed at opening what the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) says are "tremendous opportunities for U.S. exports" in areas of the world that are growing faster than the world average.

The USTR said in a statement at the opening of the negotiations that the Obama administration will be seeking a 21st century trade agreement that will "expand U.S. exports to the dynamic economies of the Asia-Pacific, create and retain U.S. jobs, integrate American companies in Asia-Pacific production and supply chains, and result in more opportunities for America's small and medium-size companies, and prioritize labor and environmental protections."

The talks will cover a wide range of issues including market access, technical barriers to trade, legal and institutional problems in participating countries, and cross-border services.

Countries involved, in addition to the United States, are Singapore, Chile, New Zealand Brunei, Australia, Peru and Vietnam. U.S. textile manufacturers are opposed to including Vietnam in the agreement because it has a non-market economy, claiming it will be "another China."

The USTR said it is engaged in an "unprecedented 50-state domestic outreach program" to engage as many stakeholders as possible in the negotiations.

June 15, 2010