Trans-Pacific Partnership: Progress Towards a Regional Agreement
Washington, D.C. (November 14, 2010) – The Leaders of the nine Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam) met Sunday.
According to the White House News Service the group met on the margins of the APEC Leaders meeting to welcome the solid progress their teams had made so far in trade talks aimed at negotiating a regional trade deal and resolved to seek to conclude the ambitious agreement as swiftly as possible. They reaffirmed their objective of negotiating a high-standard agreement and one that addresses new and emerging trade issues and the 21st century challenges their businesses and workers face.
The Leaders noted that, with the negotiations well underway, TPP is now the most advanced pathway to Asia-Pacific regional economic integration. They also reiterated their goal of expanding the initial group of countries out in stages to other countries across the region, which represents more than half of global output and over 40 percent of world trade.
President Barack Obama, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Brunei Darussalam Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Chilean President Sebastian Piñera, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, Peruvian President Alan Garcia, and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong formally welcomed Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin (Malaysian Prime Minister Najib was unable to attend) into the negotiations and applauded Vietnam’s President Nguyen Minh Triet on Vietnam’s completion of its domestic procedures to enable it to participate in the TPP as a full member.
The Leaders also expressed gratification at the interest of other Asia-Pacific countries in joining the agreement and directed that talks proceed as soon as possible with these countries, which could lay the groundwork for their future participation.
In his capacity as APEC host, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan participated in the meeting as an observer.
The meeting followed the 18th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Yokohama, Japan on November 13-14, 2010 on “The Yokohama Vision – Bogor and Beyond.” The group pledged a leaders of APEC, to gather under the 2010 theme of “Change and Action” to articulate our vision of further building and integrating the Asia-Pacific region in the 21st Century, and the paths to realize that vision.
Twenty-one years ago, APEC’s founders saw the need for greater consultation and cooperation to guide the increasingly interdependent economies of the Asia-Pacific toward a more closely and effectively linked regional economic system. From this new and creative approach was born the consensus, as articulated in the Bogor Goals, that achieving free and open trade and investment is the surest way to accomplish greater common prosperity and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
APEC has since followed the insight of the APEC founders and the direction provided by the Bogor Goals, and the Asia-Pacific region has become a driving force and engine of growth in the world economy.
Through individual and collective efforts toward achieving the Bogor Goals, the Asia-Pacific region reportedly achieved substantial reductions in barriers to trade and investment. These efforts have led to increased trade and investment flows, sustained economic growth, and a vast improvement in the welfare of people in the region. The group expressed confidence that APEC is well on track toward achieving the goal of free and open trade and investment among its economies.
This year the group conducted a review to assess the achievement of the Bogor Goals by five industrialized economies and eight volunteer developing economies. It endorsed the Report on APEC’s 2010 Economies’ Progress Towards the Bogor Goals and conclude that while more work remains to be done, these 13 economies have made significant progress toward achieving the Bogor Goals.
From 1994 to 2009, APEC economies’ total trade in goods grew at 7.1 percent per year while intra-APEC trade tripled over the same period. Foreign direct investment into and out of the APEC region both grew at 13 percent per year from 1994 to 2008. The simple average applied tariff across the region fell from 10.8 percent in 1996 to 6.6 percent in 2008.
Strong progress toward the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment has been made possible by the decisions by APEC Leaders to liberalize their own economies, confident that others in APEC would make similar decisions. This confidence to open up domestic economies would not have been possible were it not for the formation of APEC. It reaffirms a commitment to achieving free and open trade and investment in the region.
The 21st century presents new promises and new challenges. The global and regional environment is being transformed by the rising influence of the Asia-Pacific region, the development of extensive supply chains, and the rapid adoption of new information and communication technologies.
Driven by these changes, the region has become more integrated and interdependent. While this historic transformation has brought about remarkable economic dynamism in the region, events of recent years have shown that crisis can rapidly spread across economies and have a dramatic impact on the entire regional and global economic system, slowing growth and employment.
The Asia-Pacific regional economy is recovering from the recent economic and financial crisis, but uncertainty still remains. It also faces heightened challenges with regard to the protection of our environment and natural resources, including the necessity to jointly address climate change. The members said they must take to heart the lessons of the recent past, recognize the increasing role we play in the global economy as the most dynamic region in the world, and seek to strengthen the foundations of each economy and of the multilateral trading system to ensure strong, sustainable, and balanced growth as called for by the G20 Framework.
In this regard, APEC welcomes the outcomes of the G20 Seoul Summit. As highlighted in the APEC Finance Ministers’ “Kyoto Report on Growth Strategy and Finance/” They pledged to rebalance and strengthen global demand, pursue sound fiscal management and enhance finance to key sectors such as infrastructure, small and medium enterprises, households and green investment.
APEC members said they should continue to take steps to build a stronger and more resilient global financial system – remaining committed to maintaining open markets and fighting protectionism – and reaffirm its common resolve to support the recovery in a collaborative and coordinated way.