Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024


Solid progress was made at the 16th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership
(TPP) negotiations, held in Singapore from March 4-13.

So
said Singapore ’s Chief Negotiator and Director-General of Trade at
the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ng Bee Kim, at a press conference
held on March 13 upon the conclusion of 10-day intensive negotiations.

“The negotiating teams made solid progress in
bridging gaps in a number of areas. Good progress was made in working
groups on Regulatory Coherence, Telecommunications, Customs and
Development,” Bee Kim said.

Talks on services,
e-commerce, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to
trade and government procurement also continued in earnest, she added.

The press were also told that relating to goods, services,
investment and government procurement regulations, negotiators continued
efforts to develop a comprehensive market access package that would
maximise the TPP’s potential as a regional trade agreement to benefit
all TPP countries.

According to Bee Kim, TPP countries
recognise that such challenging areas as intellectual property,
environment, competition and labour, will require further deliberation
amongst TPP countries. However, she reconfirmed TPP leaders’ desire to
conclude negotiations in 2013.

Asked about Japan ’s
joining of the TPP, the host’s chief negotiator said that Japan has
not yet decided to be a TPP member. Japan ’s TPP joining depends on
her official proposal and consensus of all TPP countries.
The
11 TPP countries are Australia , Brunei , Canada , Chile , Malaysia
, Mexico , New Zealand , Peru , Singapore , the United States and
Vietnam . They are members of the Asia – Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) and presently have a combined GDP of about USD 21
trillion, which is over 50 percent of the total GDP of APEC’s 21
members.

The 17th round of negotiations will take
place in Lima , Peru , from May 15-24. TPP ministers are also
expected to meet on the sidelines of APEC Ministers Responsible for
Trade meeting in Surabaya, Indonesia, from April 20 -21.

Another
negotiating round is scheduled to be held in September in the US prior
to the October 2013 APEC summit in Indonesia.-VNA

By vivian