Statement From TPP Ministers Shows Agreement May Be Near

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Trade ministers of the 12 countries negotiating a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) today issued a statement signalling a breakthrough on the treaty, but lacking specifics.

Early reports say agreement has been tentatively reached on the intellectual property chapter. The ministers’ press release highlights the identification of “landing zones” for outstanding issues, which came from a United States proposal for a way to finalise negotiations on intellectual property, according to a recent internal memo leaked this week (IPW, Bilateral/Regional Negotiations, 10 December 2013).

Public Citizen, meanwhile, issued a statement saying that despite claims by ministers, there is so far little evidence of substantive progress, as the deadline for completion of 2013 has been missed.

The countries negotiating the TPP are: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.

The ministers’ statement follows:

STATEMENT OF THE MINISTERS AND HEADS OF DELEGATION FOR THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP COUNTRIES

December 10, 2013

Singapore

We, the Ministers and Heads of Delegation for Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam, have just completed a four-day Ministerial meeting in Singapore where we have made substantial progress toward completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

Over the course of this meeting, we identified potential “landing zones” for the majority of key outstanding issues in the text. We will continue to work with flexibility to finalize these text issues as well as market access issues.

For all TPP countries, an ambitious, comprehensive and high-standard agreement that achieves the goals established in Honolulu in 2011 is critical for creating jobs and promoting growth, providing opportunity for our citizens and contributing to regional integration and the strengthening of the multilateral trading system.

Therefore, we have decided to continue our intensive work in the coming weeks toward such an agreement. We will also further our consultations with stakeholders and engage in our respective political processes.

Following additional work by negotiators, we intend to meet again next month.

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