Steady Progress At The Seventh Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Round

WASHINGTON, D.C. — June 24, 2011 — The United States and its TPP partners — Australia, Brunei
Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam — concluded the seventh
round of negotiations today in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, making further step-by-step progress
toward their goal of reaching the outlines of an ambitious, 21st century agreement by the APEC
Leaders’ meeting in November.  

As at the previous round in Singapore, the TPP countries extended the length of the round in
Vietnam to ensure the teams had sufficient time to make meaningful progress in all areas of the
negotiation. The additional time was helpful in producing the good progress that was achieved in
further developing the detailed legal texts of the agreement, which encompass all areas of their
commercial relationships. During the week, the countries reviewed new proposals that the United
States and other TPP countries tabled this round; including on intellectual property, transparency,
telecommunications, customs, environment; and advanced their efforts to consolidate the various
proposals that the countries put forward in previous rounds. They also sought to further clarify
their understanding of each other’s positions and continued the rigorous process of finding
mutually-acceptable ways to address the specific sensitivities of each country.  

Among the issues on which the teams had particularly productive discussions were the new
cross-cutting issues that will feature for the first time in the TPP. After consulting internally
on the U.S. text tabled at the sixth round, they furthered their efforts to find common ground on
the regulatory coherence text intended to make the regulatory systems of their countries operate in
a more consistent and seamless manner and avoid the types of regulatory barriers that are
increasingly among the key obstacles to trade. The teams also had constructive discussions on
approaches to development in the TPP and the importance of ensuring that the agreement serves to
close the development gap among TPP members.  

While making continued progress on the texts across all the negotiating groups, the nine
teams also furthered their work on the accompanying commitments on access to each other’s markets
for goods, services, and government procurement.  They made further headway in Vietnam in
their discussions on services, investment, and government procurement, and on product specific
rules of origin. They also discussed their respective requests and offers on industrial goods,
agriculture, and textiles, working to close gaps in their positions. The nine teams reviewed in
detail each country’s offers and possible approaches to achieving their common goals of producing
the most ambitious package possible, supporting the creation and retention of jobs, and promoting
regional integration.    

In order to accelerate the process, the TPP countries agreed to redouble their efforts in the
months ahead. They agreed to intensify their interssessional work, including consulting on existing
proposals internally, providing revised offers on the various market access areas, and working to
develop proposals to address outstanding issues. In addition, the teams agreed to identify issues
on which to focus at the next round in the United States in early September, and to seek to reach
agreement on as many of those issues as possible at the next round. To begin this work, several
members of the U.S. negotiating team will travel to Hanoi, Vietnam and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia next
week. The U.S. team also is working to prepare additional legal text by the next round, and as it
does so it will continue consulting closely with Congress and

Prior to the start of the formal negotiating round, Vietnam hosted 140 stakeholders
representing business, civil society, and academic groups.  Stakeholders from the United
States and other TPP countries made presentations on a wide range of issues. On June 23, the
Vietnamese delegation hosted a workshop to discuss Vietnam’s labor law and the efforts it has
underway to strengthen the labor code and trade union law.  

Posted on June 28, 2011

Source: USTR