Chief negotiators at the end of the 16th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership talks reported they had achieved their goal to put the negotiations on an accelerated track, in order to reach an agreement within the 2013 timeframe as envisioned by leaders of the 11 TPP countries.
Barbara Weisel, U.S. chief negotiator and assistant U.S. trade representative, said that during this round, the 11 delegations intensified their drive to resolve the remaining issues in the legal texts of the agreement. As a result, some negotiating groups, including customs, telecom, regulatory coherence and development will not need to meet again, allowing the TPP countries to concentrate on resolving the most challenging issues, including those related to intellectual property, competition and environment.
The 11 countries also made progress on developing packages that will provide market access for goods, services and investment and government procurement. Productive exchanges occurred on tariff packages on industrial goods, agriculture and textiles, as well as on rules of origin and how best to promote the development of regional supply chains.
The 17th round of TPP negotiations will be held in Lima, Peru, from May 15-24.