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Negotiations begin for Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership

March 15, 2010 - AUSTRALIA

Melbourne hosts a meeting of trade ministers of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPP) at which the first formal round of negotiations for aspiring members of the bloc. A regional free-trade agreement, the TPP started small with New Zealand, Singapore, Chile and Brunei Darussalam and entered into force in May 2006. Now the United States, Australia, Peru and Vietnam want to join it.

Melbourne hosts a meeting of trade ministers of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPP) at which the first formal round of negotiations for aspiring members of the bloc will be conducted. A regional free-trade agreement, the TPP started small with New Zealand, Singapore, Chile and Brunei Darussalam and entered into force in May 2006. Now the United States, Australia, Peru and Vietnam want to join it. The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade defines the TPP as the first trade pact to involve a group of Pacific Rim countries, and the first multi-party trade agreement to link Oceania, Asia and Latin America. It was specifically designed to permit other APEC countries to join and to serve as a pathway to broader Asia Pacific-wide trade liberalization and integration. The ministry says the TPP goal is to tear down trade barriers among participants within a decade; tariffs on all trade products are to be eliminated within 12 years, with tariffs on 90 per cent of trade in goods among the parties eliminated immediately. US President Barak Obama is pursuing membership, arguing that such an agreement would help to expand American exports and save and create good jobs in the United States. The US Chamber of Commerce points out that Asia-Pacific nations have negotiated more than 150 preferential trade agreements between themselves and their trading partners, most of which do not include the United States. The TPP provides a vehicle to ensure that the United States can remain actively engaged in the region, according to the Chamber. The countries that could eventually come aboard the TPP include Canada, Japan, Mexico and South Korea, and Malaysia or Indonesia. (Written Feb/10)

Asia-Pacific trade deal faces skeptical Americans (AFP 1 Feb 2010)

Australia's participation in Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Negotiations (Australia Gov.)

Asia-Pacific trade deal faces skeptical Americans (AFP 1 Feb 2010)

Date written/update: 2010-03-15