The US Trade Representative has notified Congress that the President intends to enter negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. The initial TPP negotiating partners include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
The President intends for the agreement to have a membership and coverage that provides economically significant market access opportunities for America's workers, farmers, ranchers, service providers and small businesses. In the future, the negotiating group may be expanded to include additional countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
Interested parties, regardless of location or nationality, have until January 25, 2010, to submit written comments to assist USTR as it develops its negotiating objectives for the TPP. In particular, USTR seeks comments addressed to:
- General and product-specific negotiating objectives for the proposed regional agreement.
- Economic costs and benefits of removal of tariffs and reduction in non-tariff barriers on articles traded with the seven TPP countries.
- Treatment of specific goods (both tariffs and non-tariff barriers) under the proposed regional agreement.
- Adequacy of existing customs measures to ensure that imported goods originate from the TPP countries, and appropriate rules of origin for goods under the proposed regional agreement.
- Existing sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade imposed by any of the TPP countries that should be addressed in the negotiations.
- Existing barriers to trade in services among the TPP countries that should be addressed in the negotiations.
- Electronic commerce issues that should be addressed in the negotiations. Trade-related intellectual property rights issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.
- Investment issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.
- Competition-related matters that should be addressed in the negotiations.
- Government procurement issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.
- Environmental issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.
- Labor issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.
In commenting on these matters, interested parties should also take into account the objective of expanding the TPP trade agreement to include other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
In addition to the matters described above, USTR is considering addressing new and emerging issues in this regional agreement. Accordingly, interested parties have an opportunity to suggest approaches that would promote innovation and competitiveness, encourage new technologies and emerging economic sectors, increase the participation of small- and medium-sized businesses in trade, and support the development of efficient production and supply chains.