U.S. Seeks Enhanced Trade with Asia-Pacific
By MacKenzie C. Babb
Washington - Enhancing trade among Asia-Pacific countries is critical for creating jobs, boosting regional economic growth and supporting the global financial recovery, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk says.
Kirk spoke to delegates and stakeholders at the eighth round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in Chicago September 9.
"Millions of businesses, workers and families in every TPP partner country are counting on us to cooperate so that we can realize the full potential of a robust, thoughtful, market-opening agreement," Kirk said in prepared remarks .
The agreement seeks to open trade in the Asia-Pacific area to support new jobs, strengthen regional relations and eventually create a free-trade area. It also sets modern trade standards, including ensuring worker rights and protecting the environment.
Kirk said the stakes of negotiations are high and that member countries are working toward creating a stable and prosperous future not just for the region, but also for the global community.
"History has shown that close ties among trading partners can foster favorable conditions for peace and prosperity," he said.
The representative's office said in a statement September 9 that President Obama has directed U.S. negotiators to "seek a 21st-century agreement that tackles old trade concerns in new ways, that deals with cross-cutting issues previously unaddressed in trade agreements and that benefits from an unprecedented level of stakeholder input."
Nearly 60 stakeholder groups representing business, labor, academic groups and the public are scheduled to make individual presentations directly to TPP delegates before the round concludes September 15. Negotiators at the meeting represent each of the nine partner countries: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States.
Kirk encouraged all participants to "aim high and think big" during negotiations. He added that by working together, the partnership can "deliver the job-building opportunities of 21st-century trade to businesses, workers and families across the Asia-Pacific."
He commended TPP member countries for their shared commitment to sustaining the "steady progress and positive momentum" they have built to date, and said they aim to present an outline of the agreement to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in November.
(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)