TPP Talks See Progress but Goal of Concluding Agreement This Year Uncertain
The 12 countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement signaled progress at their most recent round of talks in Brunei, but it remains unclear whether they will be able to meet their goal of concluding an agreement by the end of the year.
A joint statement issued Aug. 30 said negotiators had “intensified their work” during the Brunei round and advanced technical work on texts covering market access, rules of origin, investment, financial services, intellectual property, competition and environment. They also made progress on the packages providing access to each other’s markets for goods, services, investment, financial services, temporary entry and government procurement.
Negotiators in these groups will hold intersessional meetings in the coming weeks, as will others that did not meet during the most recent talks (including technical barriers to trade, e-commerce and legal issues) because they required additional time for domestic consultation. This intersessional work is intended to further advance the negotiations in the lead up to the APEC leaders meeting in Indonesia in early October, which is when many observers expect some sort of announcement concerning the TPP to be made.