Next step in Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement

Sunday 13 November 2011, 7:14PM
By Tim Groser

Agreement on the broad outlines of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an important step towards a high-quality free-trade deal that will benefit New Zealand exporters, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and Trade Minister Tim Groser say.

Leaders of the nine countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) today agreed on the broad outlines of the free trade agreement, at a meeting hosted by US President Barack Obama in Honolulu on the fringes of the APEC summit. Mr English represented New Zealand on behalf of Prime Minister John Key.

“New Zealand’s trade with the Asia-Pacific region has been growing rapidly in recent years, with Australia and Asia now taking over 60 per cent of our exports,” Mr English says.

“However, our exporters still face barriers in many markets. Reducing those barriers and increasing access for our exports is one of the most important ways we can sell more of our goods to the rest of the world and build a faster growing economy.

“Today’s announcement is an important milestone. It signals the broad outlines of the agreement – including progressive tariff elimination and an end point of full market access – and a strong political commitment from leaders.

“Following Japan’s decision to seek to join the TPP, this creates a real sense of momentum around negotiations. Our message to our negotiators is that we want to convert that momentum into results,” Mr English says.

Leaders endorsed a report from TPP Trade Ministers setting out details of results of the negotiation to date and the next steps.

“The report from trade ministers - endorsed today - represents a great outcome for New Zealand’s interests,” Mr Groser says.

“The bottom line is that leaders are committed to a high-quality agreement – this negotiation is genuinely about free trade and getting trade rules that work for exporters.

“Today’s statements establish an excellent platform to propel the TPP negotiations towards our goal of a high-quality 21st century trade agreement,” Mr Groser says.

The next step will be more detailed negotiations on each of the areas set out in today’s statements. Negotiators will meet again in early December and have been instructed to schedule further negotiating rounds for 2012.

The three documents released today are attached:

· A statement by the Leaders of the nine TPP countries.
· A report on the negotiation from TPP Trade Ministers, which Leaders today endorsed.
· A background paper with additional detail on key features of TPP and content of main chapters or subject areas.