Transcript Of The Trans-Pacific Partnership Atlanta Ministerial Closing Press Conference

ATLANTA — October 5, 2015 — AMBASSADOR FROMAN:  Well, good morning, everybody.  It’s nice to see you all here.  It’s nice to finally hold the often rescheduled press conference.

It’s my pleasure as the host of this ministerial to read the ministers’ joint statement.  “We, the trade ministers of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam, are pleased to announce that we have successfully concluded the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.”  (Applause.)

After more than five years of intensive negotiations, we have come to an agreement that will support jobs, drive sustainable growth, foster inclusive development, and promote innovation across the Asia Pacific region.  Most importantly, the agreement achieves the goal we set forth of an ambitious, comprehensive, high standard, and balanced agreement that will benefit our nations’ citizens.

TPP brings higher standards to nearly 40 percent of the global economy.  In addition to liberalizing trade and investment between us, the agreement addresses the challenges our stakeholders face in the 21st century while taking into account the diversity of our levels of development.  We expect this historic agreement to promote economic growth, support higher-paying jobs, enhance innovation, productivity, and competitiveness, raise living standards, reduce poverty in our countries, and to promote transparency, good governance, and strong labor and environmental protections.

To formalize the outcomes of the agreement, negotiators will continue technical work to prepare a complete text for public release, including the legal review, translation, and drafting and verification of the text.  We look forward to engaging with stakeholders on the specific features of this agreement and undergoing the domestic processes to put the agreement in place.

And with that, we’re delighted to take questions.

QUESTION:  Hello.  My name is Carter Dougherty with the International Business Times.  Two questions for Ambassador Froman.  First of all, what would be your message to the Chinese at this point about the completion of TPP and on the path forward for your trade in the entire region?  And a second question regarding the compromises you’ve reached about biologics – or about patents in general:  Would you characterize this as has been an effort to ensure that current diversities in national systems of intellectual property can flourish or have you sought to meld something supranational in this context?  Thank you.

AMBASSADOR FROMAN:  Well, I think that our message to all countries is that the 12 of us are pleased to have been able to reach agreement on an ambitious, high standard, comprehensive agreement.  We think it helps define the rules of the road for the Asia Pacific region in a way that’s consistent with the interests and the values that we share and we look forward to sharing with other countries the results of the agreement and working with them towards the further integration of the Asia Pacific region.

On biologics, as you know, this is one of the most challenging issues in the negotiation.  We’ve worked cooperatively with all of our TPP parties – partners to secure a strong and balanced outcome that both incentivizes the development of these new lifesaving drugs, while ensuring access to these pioneering medicines and their availability.  And this is the first trade agreement in history to ensure a minimum period of protection for biologics and in doing so will help set a regional model and will create an environment in which through comparable treatment, there will be an effective period of protection to encourage both innovation and access.

QUESTION:  Hi.  Good morning.  Richard Madan, CTV News in Canada.  First question for anyone who wants to answer it, wondering what was the holdup that delayed your final ministerial news conference last night?

Specifically to Minister Ed Fast of Canada, you have a lot at stake because once this is done, you’re returning to the reelection trail.  Have you done any analysis that could determine how many jobs might be lost, whether it’s in dairy and manufacturing, despite the gains that you might see in trade?

MINISTER FAST:  Perhaps I can start on the last question.  We certainly don’t anticipate that there will be job losses.  Obviously there will be some industries that will adapt, but what we’ve done is we’ve positioned Canada very strongly to be part of a much larger trade agreement, the largest in the world, providing Canada with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape outcomes and rules within the Asia Pacific region, to walk shoulder to shoulder with our NAFTA partners, to expand our opportunities within the Asia Pacific.

As you know, on supply management, we have been successful in protecting the three key pillars of supply management, being production controls, price controls, and import controls.  We believe the outcome is one that very much reflects Canada’s long-term interests and will provide the supply managed sector with a bright future.  They can now continue to invest in their industry, grow their industry.  That is an outcome that we’re very pleased with.

QUESTION:  And the first question?

MINISTER FAST:  That was opened up to anyone.  (Laughter.)  Although, if you’re looking for my response, I would just say that there were a number of issues that were left to be resolved over the last several days, and each one of us comes to the table with a clear goal of promoting and defending the interests of our own country, of our own economies, and that often means that there are some very tough discussions that take place, and at the end of the day, here we are as 12 TPP partners having achieved something that some time ago, people didn’t think was achievable.  And I want to commend my colleagues here at the table for their unflagging commitment to actually getting a 21st century high ambition trade agreement negotiated, getting it done, one that is going to serve us very well and will set the rules for the 21st century for trade within the Asia Pacific region.

QUESTION:  Good morning, sirs.  I’m Shota Sato from Tokyo Broadcasting System.  I just wanted to add up on that question he asked.  So what was specifically the obstacle for all the extended extensions?  Was dairy the problem or was bio the problem?  Could you explain on that, please?  Thank you.

AMBASSADOR FROMAN:  There are many choices you have up here, by the way.  (Laughter.)  Well, that – I think coming into this ministerial and coming out of Maui, it was clear that there were a number of – a limited number, but a limited number of very difficult issues to address.  There were market access issues around agriculture, as you said.  There was issues around intellectual property rights.  There were issues around autos and there were a number of other issues.

I think over the course of the last several days, we’ve worked through those issues, but there were decisions being made as late as 5 o’clock this morning on some of the other remaining issues as our teams worked through the specific text and the chapter-by-chapter to make sure that we nail down agreement on all the – on the various issues.  And so this is a very – it’s a comprehensive agreement.  It’s complex in terms of both its scope and of course 12 countries and as a result, it’s – it took some additional time to make sure that we got it right.

I think all of us – and I am very grateful to my fellow ministers for, first of all, the time and energy they and their teams have been put into this over the last several years, but most recently changing their schedules, being here in Atlanta, and agreeing to stay on even when ministers had other engagements elsewhere to make sure that we got it done because all of us have shared the belief that the substance had to drive the timetable and that this was the opportunity to get that substance right.



MINISTER GROSER:  — can I just add a reflection?  Look, long after the details of this negotiation on things like tons of butter have been regarded as a footnote in history, the bigger picture of what we’ve achieved today will be what remains.  It is inconceivable that the TPP bus will stop at Atlanta.  The TPP bus will move on.  We will be able to evolve exactly as Minister Fast was saying.  Our industry structures will change in response to the opportunities of this agreement, and in future years, we can be absolutely certain that the depth of achievement we’ve been able to reach at this point in our collective history will be deepened and broadened and other people will join this agreement.  Don’t ask me to be precise because I would then be forecasting the future, but I just want to tell you that while the difficult negotiations on things like dairy products, which in my country’s case ended at 5 o’clock this morning, we have always to deal with these realities in a trade negotiation, but the bigger picture is the reason we’re sitting here and that bigger picture will be profoundly important and beneficial to the generations of the people in our respective countries.

QUESTION:  Matt Schewel from Inside U.S. Trade.  I have a question for Minister Robb.  Before the Maui ministerial – and you’ve mentioned this – the U.S. made a proposal to have a parallel agreement on currency manipulation that would create a forum for the 12 TPP countries to discuss issues related to exchange rate changes.  And I know that you didn’t negotiate that here, but I was wondering if the 12 countries have reached a parallel agreement on that issue, and if so, what does that agreement consist of?  And just if I could also get Minister Amari of Japan to respond to that, you know, how Japan views that agreement, if such an agreement has been reached.  Thank you.

MINISTER ROBB:  Thanks.  Thank you for the question.  Could I just add my observation to the comments addressing the last question?  Then I’ll come back to yours directly.

I do think, you know – I agree with what my New Zealand colleague had to say and also my Canadian colleague, that this agreement, in my view, is truly transformational.  It is the biggest agreement.  It is the first ambitious agreement of a multi-country nature and most significant for 20 years since the Uruguay Round, and my sense is that it will shape the future of so many trade agreements in this 21st Century.  It won’t – it will drive the way forward for lots of other trade deals, some of which we’ll be involved with, some of which we won’t be involved with.  So I agree that the magnitude of the – and the importance of rules for 21st century issues can’t be underscored enough and I’m very proud to be associated with this very complex and ambitious agreement, but one which is forward-looking, very much forward-looking to e-commerce and the digital world that now is so profound in all the areas of our lives.

Now, back to the question, original question.  That – the currency – I don’t know whether to – set of principles that really is probably the way to describe it that – again, to be agreed and more or less agreed – Ambassador Froman might be able to confirm whether the final agreement has taken place.  The discussions and the negotiations over that have been conducted in parallel with TPP.  It has been principally driven by our finance people in each country as distinct from the trade people and it’s – it will establish – and I think they have agreed to establish the forum and they’re now just looking at the principles and the issues that will be regularly considered by a representative group from each country and to add that further layer of stability that is embodied in this TPP deal.

This TPP deal is going to lead to far more seamless trade across 40 percent of the world’s GDP, and I tell you, as the former – as a person who’s been in business and exported and imported, to have one set of rules for 12 destinations within your region, the way in which this is going to turbocharge regional supply chains, global supply chains, and reduce costs – and it’s a lot of mundane things.  You know, the paperless customs work with the same set of criteria for 12 countries, now, in a world of global – in the regional supply chains, your product might move four or five times before it ends up as a final product.  If that’s moving between the region, you’ve only had one set of paperwork to deal with.  These sorts of things sound minuscule, but they are huge drivers of trade.  The red tape is consuming so much of world activity, not just in trade, in so many other areas.  This is a massive achievement in reducing that red tape.  Thanks.

MINISTER AMARI:  I’m sorry.  I’d like to answer your question in Japanese because I don’t have enough time to master English by the time of this press conference.  (Laughter.)

(Via interpreter)  So thank you for the question concerning the currency.  Centering around the Treasury and the monetary authorities between the U.S. and Japan, the precise discussions and preparations have been made.  When it comes to currency, it’s not only involving 12 countries, but is a global issue.  In other words, we should try to share the view of our currency on the global stage or level and at the same time, among the TPP countries, we should share such view and recognitions so that monetary and currency authorities can share such views and to have the constant view that there is a fora for discussion among the currency and monetary authorities.  In other words, TPP countries should have the common awareness that we will promote such discussion by encouraging the setting up of such fora on a global basis.

QUESTION:  Hi.  Dave Nakamura with The Washington Post.  For Ambassador Froman, already this morning we’ve received statements from Bernie Sanders and Senator Orrin Hatch, who, of course, supported the fast track authority for the President to pursue this deal, who have criticized already the deal that you’ve just announced.  Senator Hatch called it woefully inadequate.  Are you concerned about the current political climate heading into an election year in the United States will shed support that you built up in the spring for this deal?  How do you expect President Obama to get out and sell this deal to the American people?  And as a former Clinton Administration staffer, do you expect Hillary Clinton to ultimately support this deal?

AMBASSADOR FROMAN:  Well, the – today represents an important first step in this process, reaching an agreement on a deal, and now we’ll work very closely building on the consultations we’ve had with congress over the last several years and intensely over the last couple of years to explain what’s in the deal, to go through the details of it, and we’re very much looking forward to that.  That’s a key part of our domestic process and we each have our own domestic processes to go through.

We’ll be consulting closely with congressional leadership on the next steps and the timetable and we look forward very much to walking through the specifics of the deal and we’re confident that people will see this as a very strong deal, very much consistent with the directions of and the directives of Congress with regards to Trade Promotion Authority and that it helps set the rules of the road for the region in a way that is consistent with both our interests and our values.  So we look forward to that process.  It’ll involve a lot of consultation with Congress, a lot of consultation with stakeholders and with the public, and we think that’ll be an important and robust process.

QUESTION:  Can you talk about Secretary Clinton?

AMBASSADOR FROMAN:  Oh, I think I will leave presidential politics to somebody else.  I think our job is simply to reach an agreement and then explain it fully to the American public, to consult closely with Congress on next steps.  Given our – given where we are in the calendar and the requirements of Trade Promotion Authority, this is really a 2016 issue for Congress to consider, not a 2015 issue, and we look forward to using all of this time, including putting the – once we have a text that is finished, and our teams will be working to finalize that as quickly as possible, putting that out there for at least 60 days before it’s signed.  As you know, under the Trade Promotion Authority bill, we will – after we give notice to Congress, it will be at least 90 days before the agreement is signed, and as I mentioned, 60 days out there – at least 60 days out there in the public, and I imagine there’s going to be a very good and important debate about it and we look forward to engaging in that.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  Yes, (inaudible) with Nikkei Newspaper of Japan.  First, just briefly, I want to clarify how we should call this deal.  I mean, Ambassador Groser said the bus doesn’t stop here in Atlanta.  But we had a low-key expectation maybe we might call this an agreement in principle or (inaudible) agreement, but it seems like this is whole agreement.  So that’s the first question I want to ask Mr. Froman.

And also, as a person from the East Asia, Southeast Asia, going back to first – very first question somebody asked about China.  What does this mean – the deal means to the nations such as Vietnam and Malaysia?  And I would like to answer this question specifically to the representatives of Vietnam and Malaysia.  Having in the TPP means what?  I mean, at the very beginning, I thought it’s very difficult to reach the high standards (inaudible) for two nations, but you have done.  So I would like to have a comment from both nations.  Thank you.

AMBASSADOR FROMAN:  I think in terms of your first question, as the joint statement says, we’ve successfully concluded the negotiations.  We’ve resolved the outstanding issues and now our teams will be spending a period of time finalizing the details of the text, but the intense period of negotiation we’ve had here in Atlanta and before that in Hawaii has really been focused on resolving all of the outstanding issues, both in market access and with regard to rules.

And I’ll ask my colleagues from Vietnam and Malaysia to reply to your second question.

MINISTER HOANG:  Thank you.  Relating to your questions, Vietnam and Malaysia and maybe Brunei, at the same time we participate as TPP negotiation and RCEP, I think that for Vietnam, we are among the 12 countries of TPP, we are the less developed country in the group, but we think that we will overcome every difficulties to fulfill our obligation and our right.  If we decided to join the RCEP negotiation, I think that we will follow the same manner as we did among TPP country.

CHIEF NEGOTIATOR JAYASIRI:  Well, as for Malaysia, the first point about China is that this agreement is open to all Asia Pacific countries and there is a real opportunity for China to be part of this arrangement.  Secondly, Malaysia already have very good trading arrangements with China.  We have an ASEAN-China free trade agreement.  And thirdly, we don’t see the RCEP where China is engaged with 15 other countries in the region to establish the RCEP as conflicting with the TPP.  These are both complementary arrangements for a trading nation like Malaysia.

QUESTION:  Good morning.  It’s John Kerr here from The Australian Financial Review.  Mr. Groser, when the TPP was founded back in 2006, New Zealand one of the four founding members, the ambition was to eliminate trade barriers.  Notwithstanding all the work – good work that’s been done over the past few years, trade purists, economists may point to this deal as falling short on those ambitions.  Canada’s retained its supply management system in dairy.  The U.S. has given a little bit of access on sugar.  What would you say to people in those trade circles who say this deal falls short of the original intentions?

And, Mr. Fast, could I just ask you how do you intend to negotiate this deal through the Canadian political scene given you’ve got an election coming up?

MINISTER GROSER:  Well, if I look at this  – I mean, it’s a very important question – through the prism of our small economy’s export interests, what I’ll be saying to New Zealanders when we get back is this establishes, in the long run, complete elimination of all tariffs on everything New Zealand exports with two exceptions.  One is the beef tariff in Japan and the other are some dairy products, some of which will achieve tariff elimination and others have proven to be too difficult.

If we had calibrated this negotiation from any other point than this high level of ambition, we would not be sitting around the table allowing me as one of the economies to make that statement.  So it’s been a negotiation.  I don’t know what other basis we would have started this negotiation than from this very high level of achievement.  So we have not been able to achieve this today amongst all of us collectively, but it’s established a direction of travel.  And if you go back into the history of any trade negotiation – you could use the Australian-New Zealand deal, you could use P-4 – what we’re doing is, on the more difficult issues, establishing a direction of travel.  Unquestionably, we will see adjustments to that direction of travel.  This will open up political space for future generations of trade ministers from our countries to build on this.

So if you think you shouldn’t do anything because you cannot attain perfection, just remember the old phrase:  “The excellent is almost always the enemy of the good.”

MINISTER FAST:  In terms of Canada’s timing, Canada’s election will take place on October 19th, exactly two weeks from now.  It would be the height of response – irresponsibility for a Canadian Government to abandon a negotiation like this and not defend the interests of Canadians, which is why Canada stayed at the negotiating table and concluded negotiations.

Now, please understand that post-October 19th, the new parliament in Canada will have a full debate on the merits of this agreement and will vote on this agreement.  Our role was to make sure we defended Canada’s interests at the table.  We are very pleased with the outcome we’ve been able to secure for all sectors of our economy.  Ultimately, it will be the new parliament that will judge the merits of this agreement.

QUESTION:  Good morning.  I’m Jackie Calmes with The New York Times.  Most of the questions have been covered, but I was interested – this is a very diverse group and – in terms of the size of the countries and the economies.  What – the American labor movement, for one, and Democrats in Congress have raised concerns that there’s – that the countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei will not be enforcing labor standards, and in particular, Malaysia stopping human trafficking.  What assurances can you all give that they’re wrong?

And second, Ambassador Froman, what – is it realistic – can you conclude in – during the Obama Administration the separate trade agreement with Europe given now the complexities of getting this through?

AMBASSADOR FROMAN:  Maybe I’ll start by answering your second question, but also your first, and then others from the countries you mentioned may want to jump in or not.

This agreement establishes the strongest labor standards of any trade agreement in history: the right of association, the right to collective bargain, prohibitions on forced labor, prohibitions on child labor, prohibitions on employment discrimination, acceptable conditions of work, minimum wage, maximum hours, safe workplace conditions, and they’re all fully enforceable like other obligations in the agreement.

With the countries that you mentioned, we have worked very closely and very collaboratively on specific actions to be taken that will help bring their systems into compliance with international labor standards, and including cooperative efforts around capacity building and other measures.  And we’re very much looking forward to working with those countries to ensure that on the ground, there is real, measured progress towards improving the lives of workers and the dignity of work.

MINISTER HOANG:  Thank you.  I think that labor is one of the most critical and sensitive issues for Vietnam during our negotiation.  We spent a lot of time together with our partners to discuss on this subject, and I think that the conditions on labor set forth in our agreement are not the conditions of U.S. or other countries among our 12; this is – these are the conditions of ILO and Vietnam is member of International Labor Organization.  We commit to fulfill the rights and obligations with ILO conditions, and I think that this is the commitment and our willing to fulfill our obligations in the labor issues.

MINISTER SENG:  Certainly TPP agreements include the labor chapter, and as a member of ILO, obviously this is an important convention that we adhere to and within the TPP work very hard with the United States on – to reach an agreement and on the labor issue.  I think with the capacity building and with the cooperation, I think we will be able to address those important (inaudible) issues with the partners here.

CHIEF NEGOTIATOR JAYASIRI:  I would like to dispel any notion that Malaysia will not be able to implement the labor chapter because we are also a member of the International Labor Organization and have adhered to the principles of the declaration.  On the second issue of trafficking, I think you are aware that Malaysia has already put in place a number of measures, including strengthening our own legislation on enforcement, and this, I think, is also part of the labor standards that we are going to enforce through the labor chapter.

AMBASSADOR FROMAN:  Well, I thought I should at least complete the press conference on TPP before turning to T-TIP, but we have been engaged with our European partners for about a year and a half on this.  We’ve had intense engagement, including with Commissioner Malmström just last week in Washington to review the state of play around T-TIP, and we look – very much look forward to completing – to making progress and ultimately completing it consistent with the standards that we’ve set out for it.  We have an upcoming round in another two weeks on T-TIP and we’re making steady progress towards its completion.

QUESTION:  Hi, it’s Shawn Donnan from The Financial Times.  Minister Amari, if I could just ask you about the economic and strategic implications of the agreement you have today.  You have an economy that many believe will enter technical recession very soon.  How important is this as part of your government’s reform agenda and to boost growth at home?  And also, how important is it for the Asia Pacific region from Japan’s perspective as a strategic exercise?

Ambassador Froman, I couldn’t not ask you a question.  The – just back to the issue of Congress.  You said this is a 2016 issue for Congress.  Given the presidential politics, can you talk a little bit more about timing and how certain you are that you can actually get this through Congress next year and before the Administration leaves office?

MINISTER AMARI:  (Via interpreter) About the Japanese economy, you mentioned it is in technical recession, but it is not the case.  Japanese economy is in the sure path of growth and recovery, but there are some issues and – economic and employment indices show the best numbers in 25 years.  And also, corporate income also is the best in the history, best earnings.  But they are not duly reflected in the investment and wages yet.  Therefore, on the part of Abe cabinet, within this month, we’ll organize a discussion session between the economic organizations and the government so that accumulated earnings should be used in the effective way to start the virtuous cycle for the betterment of the economy, and to that end, what government can do.  So we will accelerate such discussion.

And you mentioned the TPP’s strategic significance.  TPP is not just an agreement to reduce the tariffs to zero or near zero; it would ensure the free flow of goods as well as capital, and also the regulations or obstacles about the flow of investment would be eliminated.  For instance, when a country tries to make investment in other countries, there could be a performance requirement such as the requirement to do the technology transfer or a half of what’s produced should be exported, and so forth.  Such requirements stood in the way of the promotion of investment.  We will eliminate that.  And such rules will apply to newly participating countries.  In other words, if China were to join TPP, then China cannot impose such performance requirements.  So it will be a free flow of goods, capital, people, as well as information.

So when we think of the growth of economy, the starting point is the free flow of managerial resources of every sense of the term.  So the set of rules we construct among 12 countries will be the global standard for the 21st century.  And I will not – well, some say that we will not talk about specific name of the countries who are in the queue to participate in TPP, but there are multiple number of countries in the queue, and it will have a great tripling effect to induce more countries to – wishing to join.  And there what we find is the freedom, democracy, and capitalism, the shared value we constructed together, will spread throughout the world.  And we take high pride in the fact that we have been the member to construct the original treaty, and by spreading the rules we can make the world more affluent and strengthen the relationship of mutual interdependence.  So it will mean the economic security, but at the same time in an indirect sense, it will enhance the security in the region and to promote the solidarity in the region in the economy and other (inaudible).

QUESTION:  My name is (inaudible) from NHK TV.  First of all, I’d like to say – oh, sorry about that.

AMBASSADOR FROMAN:  I was happy to move on to the next question.  (Laughter.)  Well, as I said, Shawn, under TPA, as you know, there will be at least 90 days before the agreement is signed, and that’ll take us into 2016.  And in terms of the precise timing of the dealing with TPP by the Congress, that’s something that we’ll work very closely with leadership in Congress to determine what the best pathway is forward, and we’re looking forward to continuing that engagement, as we have over the last several months, as soon as we get back to Washington this afternoon to start those briefings about what’s been in the – what’s in the agreement and to consult with the leadership about next steps.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  (Inaudible) from NHK.  First of all, I’d like to say congratulations for – to all the ministers and the negotiators involved in this agreement.  My question is to the representatives from Chile and Peru.  First, on the biologics, you have until the very last moment, you have the very intensive discussion with the U.S. and other partners.  So how did you overcome these difficult issues and explain to your people TPP’s worth having?  So please explain that.

And then the Minister Guajardo of Mexico, there are during the negotiations, there are growing concern among negotiators that – over the U.S. leadership.  They say that the U.S. is having a strategy that once U.S. get the deal with the big economy like Japan or Australia, others could be just swept away.  So it makes difficult for auto issue in Maui with – between the discussion, between the U.S., Japan and Mexico, Canada I believe.  So do you have any comment on that?

MINISTER REBOLLEDO:  Thank you for the question.  You’re right, biologics issue is – was one of the most sensitive issues in the negotiations, at least in the case of Chile.  It was an exhaustive negotiation during the entire process, but also during this round.  In the case of Chile, we are very pleased with the final result.  We really think that we have a balanced result.  We are going to maintain our internal regulation in data protection, and also we are going to keep the regulation we already have in the previous free trade agreement.

MINISTER SILVA:  Good morning.  In the case of Peru, we also came with high expectations.  We knew we had sensitive issues and we were devoted to work as hard as possible to make the deal to be here with this group.  The country is prepared, the public institutions are prepared for the changes that we need to make.  And we have to look at this, as everyone has been saying here, as a balance, right?  At the end of the day, what we’re looking through a 21st century is exactly just to set the standards for us to bring more jobs to our countries.  The free trade, in the case of Peru, has proven to make Peru – that has been possible to be seen as a country that has been growing at an average rate of 6.4 in the past decade, and that was thanks to the opening of our economy.  We’re a small economy; we’re 30 million people.  We have been through 17 free trade agreements.  We have been make – we have made possible for farmers, for agro exports, to have decent lives and to change the lives of their children.  That has been possible thanks to new markets that have been opening.

We are sure that this is a deal that will bring prosperity to our country, that would prepare to compete us with the right tools, and that will be – as I said, no one has mentioned here, for example, that I am the only woman among these 11 gentlemen.  And this is part of – (laughter and applause) – and this is also part of the TPP, because the TPP is a deal that has a chapter two that focus on gender problems that would allow us, the 12 countries from three different continents, to be flexible, to produce more opportunities for our people.  And this is something that we are ready to celebrate today, and after a long fight we beat it and we are demonstrating that we’re part of the 40 percent of the GDP of the world.

QUESTION:  Krista Hughes from Reuters.

MINISTER GUAJARDO:  Sorry, there is a question about Mexico’s role in the last part of the process, about rules of origin in autos.  That’s what I understood from the question.  Basically, as you know, once the U.S. and Japan had finished their own negotiation in the bilateral terms, there was a very important remaining issue to be solved between the countries that have a high interest in the auto industry.  So starting from Maui, we got to engage with the very, very, very collaborative participation of the U.S. and Japan to host different technical meetings in the auto sector, and we were able to manage it.  The U.S. hosted those meetings, one in San Francisco, one in Washington, and then finally here in Atlanta.  And we definitely recognize the role that Canada, Japan, the U.S. play in this process.  And at the end, we got a very balanced solution on recognizing the level of integration of the auto industry in the Asian region and in the North American region.  So at the end, we were very pleased with the outcome that will allow us to continue building on the success of the auto industry and to really hope for a much stronger trade and investment in this area in the Asian region and in the North American region.

QUESTION:  Krista Hughes from Reuters.  I just wanted to follow up on the comment about the biologics.  Mr. Froman, you said there was a minimum standard.  What is the minimum standard that you agreed?  And perhaps Minister Robb also has a perspective on that.

And secondly, on dairy for Mr. Groser, you’ve said New Zealand wouldn’t sign up to a deal that wasn’t good for dairy, but there are still some tariffs.  Can you explain what this will mean for New Zealand dairy exports, please?  Thank you.

AMBASSADOR FROMAN:  Yes.  So Krista, I think as we have talked about, and I think as Minister Robb was quoted in the press today, I think very articulately, there was a recognition of the importance of innovation, of the importance of having effective market protection for encouraging innovation, and a recognition that there may be multiple ways of achieving that.  So for some of us in our systems, we have – we use data protection as the method for creating effective market protection, and we have in our – the United States of course 12 years, in some of the other countries eight or 10 years.  What we’re doing in TPP is recognizing that we’re all trying to achieve that effective market protection and deliver a comparable outcome through various mechanisms, including at least 5 years of data protection plus other government measures that can achieve a comparable outcome.  And I think that was a long and hard discussion among all the parties around the table, reflecting different levels of development – different levels of development of the pharmaceutical and biotech industry.  And the outcome, I believe, both encourages and incentivizes those – the innovation around important, lifesaving medicines and treatments and ensures access to affordable medicines more broadly around the world.

MINISTER GROSER:  On dairy, let me introduce some economics, not just politics, into this discussion.  So the extraordinary thing about dairy products, which was one of the most sensitive issues we had to resolve here, and obviously of crucial importance to my country, is that New Zealand has only 2.5 percent of world dairy production and roughly, depending on how you measure it, one-third of world trade.  I mean, can you imagine that being possible in, say, the world of autos, that a tiny auto country that had only 2.5 percent of world automobile manufacturing would be the largest automobile exporter in the world?  It would be impossible.

And the economics behind this is that this is a reflection of the fact that we’ve had 50, 60 years of integration of the motor vehicle industries of the planet and we’ve just started this process on dairy.  So we start every journey where we stand.  So over the long term, we are moving in a more liberal direction on dairy products.  In the last 20 years what it means for New Zealand, you asked me, is that this will build on complete free trade into China.  We have complete free trade into Taiwan, complete free trade into the whole of Southeast Asia, and I could go on.  And these are progressively opening up opportunities not just for my industry and, of course, Australia also is a major dairy exporter, but for other people.  So we will see normality spread.

The advantage of this for New Zealand is not just about new opportunities; it’s about reducing volatility.  So in economic terms what you have is a highly closed market.  And therefore, when supply and demand get out of kilter, as they have recently in world dairy markets, it’s all focused on a huge relative adjustment in the international part of this equation.  This agreement will not only create opportunities for dairy farmers in Australia and New Zealand but it will help, over the long term, to reduce volatility.  So it’s all about the direction of travel.  This is unquestionably positive for our dairy farmers.

AMBASSADOR FROMAN:  Krista, can I just add – just want to make the point that what we’re talking about is ensuring that there’s that effective market protection.  And again, we do it in the United States through 12 years of data protection.  But even countries that have a lower level – a lower period of data protection through their regulatory measures, their administrative measures, their requirements for perhaps additional clinical trials or their inspection of manufacturing plans or the various steps that they go through – as Minister Robb said earlier today, it may take seven or eight years beyond the five years of data protection for the various biosimilars to be approved.  And so our goal is whether you’re doing it one way or the other, one stream or another, is to have a comparable outcome in terms of incentivizing innovation and at the same time ensuring access to affordable medicines.

MINISTER ROBB:  Could I – I was asked – since I was asked whether I agreed with the comments, and I do agree with the assessment of Ambassador Froman of the biologics position that was established.  The thing is that many observers assumed that we had to arrive at some hybrid singular, single system.  The agreement recognizes that we can travel on different roads but end up at the same outcome.  And we can travel with some common elements, and the minimum standard for data protection is common to all of us.  But at the same time, we – the deal agrees or recognizes that the existing systems of different countries are able to reach the same outcome.  And that’s been a very important construct.  And that’s why we’ve been able to, like not just in biologics but so many areas, if we bring that sort of commonsense approach which is focused on outcomes, we’re able to create a situation where such a diverse range of countries, different cultures, different languages, very different states of development, different political systems – it’s a remarkable effort that all of us, all 12 of us, feel we can go back and sell what is a truly transformational agreement.  And so I’m in full agreement with Ambassador Froman.

MODERATOR:  This next question will be our last question.  If you would, please keep your seats following the answer while the ministers exit the room.

QUESTION:  Thank you so much for having this, and thanks to Minister Groser for introducing economics into the conversation.  I wanted to ask briefly two questions.

For Vietnam, what would this deal do to the Vietnamese economy?  Would it boost certain industries like textiles?  Where do you see this deal shaping the Vietnamese economy?

And then of course for Ambassador Froman, when you go to Congress this afternoon and start talking about the wins in this deal, which industries are you going to mention?  Will it be products or services or farms?  If you could mention an actual few industries, if not companies, that would benefit, that would be great.  Thank you very much.

MINISTER HOANG:  Thank you for the questions relating to Vietnam textile industry.  I think that our economy weighs on very important contribution of textile industry.  Therefore, when we – in joining TPP, this means that our textile industry can grow faster.  And this will bring benefit for the poor people, because textile industry in Vietnam (inaudible) about million of people.  And I (inaudible) the country of TPP to create (inaudible) condition for Vietnam to enjoy some interest and benefit in textile industry.  Thank you.

AMBASSADOR FROMAN:  Well, I think if you start on the – for example, just on the tariff side, TPP represents 18,000 tax cuts, the elimination of 18,000 tariffs across – from our – from the U.S. perspective, it’s trading partners with whom it doesn’t already have an FTA.  And that goes everything from autos, where we have tariffs in some of our TPP countries as high as 70 percent.  So those going to zero create a real opportunity for further auto exports.  Machinery, 50 percent; chemicals, 30 percent; agriculture products, whether it’s both tariff and non-tariff barriers – tariffs will either be eliminated, greatly reduced, or quotas will be significantly increased and their administration will become more efficient.  So beef, pork, dairy opportunities for export.  Our dairy industry has become a more export-oriented industry in the last 10 years.  We now export about 15 percent of our dairy product.  And this will open up additional opportunities in these other countries where they face either tariff or other non-tariff barriers.

Services equally.  I spend a lot of time with small businesses who engage in global commerce through the internet.  And when they sell a product from the United States to another TPP party through the internet, they’re using telecommunication services, software services, electronic payment services, and express delivery services.  Those are all services covered by this trade agreement to ensure that those services are kept open and have very much helped small and medium-sized businesses who find the challenges of international trade to be significant when they have to navigate different customs rules and different border procedures.  Allowing – making sure those services are open, particularly for the digital economy, for the internet economy, is extremely important.

So whether it’s manufacturing goods, agricultural products, or services, we see great opportunities for increasing made in America exports and supporting good-paying jobs here at home.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.  That concludes our press conference.  Again, if you would keep your seats while the ministers make their exit.

Posted October 6, 2015

Source: USTR