Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal to support Asia-Pacific economic integration

Negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement could further support the regional economic integration of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region.

United States (US) Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman said the Philippines’ chairmanship of the APEC this year has focused on furthering integration across the region.

“We’re dealing with digital trade, we’re dealing with localization barriers. These are all important initiatives that help further the integration of this region and we view our work in TPP as supportive of this overall effort as well,” he said during a press briefing Sunday, after the close of the two-day APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting held in Boracay island, Aklan province.

Froman said five years ago, APEC leaders indicated various ways of achieving regional integration, including TPP, as well as the ASEAN plus three, ASEAN plus six, and other initiatives.

”So we don’t view them as contradictory at all, we see TPP as one of the building blocks, along with several others, that contribute to a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific,” he said.

Froman noted that TPP is intended to be an open platform, where countries that are “able and willing to meet its standards could join, with the consent of all the parties and consistent with each of our domestic processes.”

The US is currently negotiating the TPP trade agreement with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

It aims to expand the initial group to include more countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including the Philippines. (PNA/PCOO News Release)

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