Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations

Seventh round of Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Negotiations

The seventh round of TPP negotiations was held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, from 15-24 June 2011. TPP Parties (Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam) continued to make steady progress across all negotiating groups.

Draft text is now on the table in each of the negotiating groups. Parties worked to consolidate existing text and considered new text proposals in various working groups, including intellectual property, services, transparency, telecommunications, customs and environment. In a range of areas it is expected that further textual proposals will be tabled.

In goods market access, Parties discussed respective offers and approaches that would facilitate the achievement of an ambitious outcome. Some countries provided revised tariff offers following requests for improvements on their initial market access offers. Australia continued to focus on creating a regional agreement with common tariff commitments and easy to understand rules-of-origin.

In the services, investment and government procurement working groups, Parties further advanced discussions of market access commitments and responded to questions that had been posed intersessionally on non-conforming measures. There is a significant range in the quality of offers, and countries with ambitious offers expressed some concern regarding offers that suggested relatively low ambitions. Australia has put forward a high quality offer, reflecting our current open trade and investment regime. Our offer also preserves the Government's ability to regulate legitimately on social, environmental and other important public policy matters.

The discussions on cross-cutting issues considered US proposals on promoting the participation of small and medium sized business in international trade, improving regulatory coherence, competitiveness and supply chains. Parties also had productive discussions on development and the importance of ensuring the agreement served to close the development gap among TPP Parties.

A Stakeholders Forum was held on 19 June and was attended by a range of industry groups, academics, businesses and non-government organisations. A number of Australian stakeholders attended the Forum. Australian TPP negotiators attended the stakeholder presentations and engaged with stakeholders on a range of issues. The messages of stakeholders varied from support for ambitious commitments to concern that such commitments would not serve the interests of developing countries. Stakeholders were also briefed by the Chief Negotiators during the round and invited to a function with TPP delegates hosted by Vietnam.

The next round of TPP negotiations is scheduled for 6-15 September in the United States in Chicago. TPP negotiators continue to aim to make maximum progress on the agreement by the APEC Leaders' Meeting in Honolulu in November 2011. We will provide further information on this next round and any associated stakeholder program on the DFAT website when this information becomes available.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade continues to seek input from stakeholders on the TPP negotiations, and appreciated the stakeholder views it received in the lead up to the Vietnam round, including through the consultations held in May in a number of capital cities. Upon request, Australian negotiators would be happy to organise industry or sector-specific briefings in order to facilitate a more detailed discussion on particular areas of the negotiations. DFAT also welcomes written submissions at any time. To make submissions or to request appointments, please email us at tpp@dfat.gov.au.