Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations

Enhancing Trade and Investment, Supporting Jobs, Economic Growth and Development: Outlines of The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

On November 12, 2011, the Leaders of the nine Trans-Pacific Partnership countries – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States – announced the achievement of the broad outlines of an ambitious, 21st-century Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that will enhance trade and investment among the TPP partner countries, promote innovation, economic growth and development, and support the creation and retention of jobs.

The agreement’s broad framework is as follows:

Key Features

In reporting to Leaders on the achievement of the broad outlines of an agreement, the Trade Ministers identified five defining features that will make TPP a landmark, 21st-century trade agreement, setting a new standard for global trade and incorporating next-generation issues that will boost the competitiveness of TPP countries in the global economy.

Scope

The agreement is being negotiated as a single undertaking that coversall key trade and trade-related areas. In addition to updating traditional approaches to issues covered by previous free trade agreements (FTAs), the TPP includes new and emerging trade issues and cross-cutting issues.

More than twenty negotiating groups have met over nine rounds to develop the legal texts of the agreement and the specific market access commitments the TPP countries will make to open their markets to each others’ goods, services, and government procurement.

All of the nine countries also have agreed to adopt high standards in order to ensure that the benefits and obligations of the agreement are fully shared. They also have agreed on the need to appropriately address sensitivities and the unique challenges faced by developing country members, including through trade capacity building, technical assistance, and staging of commitments as appropriate.

A set of new, cross-cutting commitments are intended to reduce costs, enable the development of a more seamless trade flows and trade networks between TPP members, encourage the participation of small-and medium-sized enterprises in international trade, and promote economic growth and higher living standards.

The negotiating teams have proposed new commitments on crosscutting issues in traditional chapters and also have made substantial progress toward agreement on separate, stand-alone commitments to address these issues.

Legal Texts

The negotiating groups have developed consolidated legal text invirtually all negotiating groups. In some areas, text is almost complete; in others, further work is needed to finalize text on specific issues. The texts contain brackets to indicate where differences remain.

The legal texts will cover all aspects of commercial relations amongthe TPP countries. The following are the issues under negotiation anda summary of progress.

Tariff Schedules and Other Market-Opening Packages

The TPP tariff schedule will cover all goods, representing some 11,000 tariff lines. The nine countries also are developing common TPP rules of origin, and are weighing proposals now for how to do this most effectively and simply.

Services and investment packages will cover all service sectors. To ensure the high-standard outcome the nine countries are seeking, theTPP countries are negotiating on a “negative list” basis, which presumes comprehensive coverage but allows countries to negotiate specific exceptions to commitments in specific service sectors.

Government procurement packages are being negotiated with each country seeking to broaden coverage to ensure the maximum access to each others’ government procurement markets, while recognizing each others’ sensitivities.

Next Steps

Leaders of the nine TPP countries have instructed negotiators to meet in early December, and at that time to schedule additional negotiating rounds.