During a meeting on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that ended Friday, attendees worked through e-commerce, rules of origin and other technical and legal barriers to trade.
The next round of talks is scheduled for July 15 in Malaysia.
U.S. officials and leaders of 10 additional countries also spent the 17th round of transpacific partnership negotiations moved toward a common ground on issues concerning government procurement, dispute settlement and labor. Tariff packages and rules of origin were also laid out. Progress toward an agreement is being made, but the parties still have to agree on intellectual property, competition and environmental issues.
The United States sees an 11-party partnership as a way to expand trade in the Asia-Pacific region and increase U.S. competitiveness while ensuring that labor rights and environmental aspects are protected. The countries involved include Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam.
“Ministers from the TPP countries will continue to engage regularly over the coming months to guide the negotiators’ work, find solutions to outstanding sensitive issues, and ensure that the negotiations achieve the TPP Leaders’ objective of a high-quality, ambitious, and comprehensive agreement this year,” according to a statement. “Meanwhile, the negotiating teams agreed on detailed intersessional work plans so that the momentum achieved during this week’s round in Lima can be maintained.” - Jon Ross