Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations

Eighth round of Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiations

The eighth round of TPP negotiations was held in Chicago, United States, from 6–15 September 2011. TPP Parties (Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam) continued to work towards settling the broad outlines of an agreement by the APEC Leaders Meeting in Honolulu in November.

Parties made progress in consolidating and narrowing positions between the negotiating parties on existing text in more than 20 chapters. In particular, solid progress was made in negotiations on Customs, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) issues, Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Telecommunications, Government Procurement. There was also detailed discussion on the 21st century “horizontal” issues, such as ways to strengthen the benefits of the agreement for SMEs, competitiveness, regulatory coherence and development. Parties considered new text proposals in a number of chapters including on environment, intellectual property (where the US tabled detailed new provisions, mainly relating to pharmaceuticals), and transparency. A number of text proposals are still being developed and are expected to be tabled before the next round in Lima.

In goods market access, Parties discussed respective offers and approaches that would facilitate the achievement of an ambitious outcome for the TPP. Some countries provided improved market access offers, and Australia continued to focus on the development market access outcomes that would create a regional agreement with common tariff commitments and easy to understand rules-of-origin.

In the services, investment and government procurement working groups, Parties further advanced negotiation of market access by engaging in detailed discussion of each country’s non-conforming measures (which broadly refer to areas where each country reserves the right to maintain policies that do not conform to some or all of the obligations included in the TPP text). Australia has put forward a high quality and ambitious market access offer, reflecting our current open trade and investment regime. Our offer also preserves the Government's ability to regulate legitimately on social, environmental and other important public policy matters.

A large Stakeholders Forum was held on 10 September and attracted 250 delegates, including several Australian stakeholders. There were more than 60 presentations at the forum, conveying the interests of the private sector, industry groups, academia and civil society. Issues such as intellectual property, textiles, investor state dispute settlement, supply chains, the environment, capital controls and state owned enterprises featured in the presentations. Australian negotiators attended the forum and also met for more detailed discussions with a number of stakeholders in the margins of the round.

The next round of TPP negotiations will be in Lima, Peru from the 19–28 October. The Peruvian Government will host a stakeholder forum on Sunday 23 October. If you would like to attend please register online. If you are interested in presenting at the forum, please email us at tpp@dfat.gov.au for further information.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade continues to seek input from stakeholders on the TPP negotiations, and appreciated the stakeholder views it received in the lead up to and during the Chicago round. Upon request, Australian negotiators would be happy to organise industry or sector-specific briefings in order to facilitate a more detailed discussion on particular areas of the negotiations. DFAT also welcomes written submissions at any time. To make submissions or to request an appointment, please email us at tpp@dfat.gov.au.