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Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership

The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, also known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP agreement is a multilateral free trade agreement. It currently comprises the countries of Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore, but may include more countries in the future.

The agreement was signed on June 3, 2005 and came into force on May 28, 2006. On September 2008, the United States announced it was entering negotiations to join the group.

The TPP was previously known as the Pacific Three Closer Economic Partnership (P3-CEP) with its negotiations first launched on the sidelines of the 2002 APEC Leaders' Meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico, by Chilean President Ricardo Lagos and Prime Ministers Goh Chok Tong of Singapore and Helen Clark of New Zealand. Brunei first took part as a full negotiating party in the fifth round of talks in April 2005.

Despite cultural and geographical differences, the four member countries share certain similar attributes: all are relatively small countries (no more than 16 million inhabitants) and are members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). The agreement is not an APEC initiative and does not fall within the APEC agenda.

The aim of the agreement is to eliminate 90 percent of all tariffs between member countries by January 1, 2006 and reduce all trade tariffs to zero by the year 2015. It is a comprehensive agreement covering all the mainstays of a free trade agreement, including trade in goods, rules of origin, trade remedies, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, trade in services, intellectual property, government procurement and competition policy.


The agreement has the potential to grow to include other nations as the agreement includes an accession clause. This was particularly apparent from the fact that negotiations originally included just three countries and that Brunei was subsequently included into the agreement. In February 2008 the United States agreed to enter into talks with the P4 members regarding liberalising trade in financial services and in September 2008, the United States announced it had decided to enter negotiations into joining the group.

On September 23, 2008, an official announcement was made from Washington D.C. that the United States was to begin negotiations with the P-4 countries ASAP, with the first round of talks scheduled for March 2009 with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark stating "I think the value to New Zealand of the United States coming into a transpacific agreement as a partner would be of the same value as we would hope to get from a bilateral FTA. . . It's very, very big news." Although the outcome of the FTA could become largely dependent on the results of the 2008 United States Presidential election as it is believed the Democratic Party are less friendly towards free trade than their Republican counterparts, despite this, Helen Clark said "I believe that to Democrats, New Zealand offers very few problems because we are very keen on environment and labour agreements as part of an overall approach to an FTA". In November 2008, Australia, Vietnam and Peru announced that they would also be joining the P4 trade bloc. In February 2010, Malaysia showed interest in joining the group also.

Since the inauguration of Barack Obama, the anticipated March negotiations have been put on hold due to delays in the appointment of Ron Kirk as United States Trade Representative. The U.S. Senate confirmed Kirk as United States Trade Representative on 18 March 2009 with a vote of 92 in favor and 5 opposed and he was sworn in the same day. Kirk was formally sworn in by Joe Biden on 20 March 2009. "The [New Zealand] government is deeply disappointed" that the United States is postponing trade talks involving New Zealand that were scheduled to get underway at the end of the month, NZ Prime Minister John Key says and that "New Zealand will continue to advocate very strongly for a trade deal."

External links

Text of agreement

New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry

United States to Join Sectoral Negotiations with Four Asia-Pacific Countries

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership

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