Home > Uncategorized > Fifth Round of TPP Negotiations Open in Auckland

Fifth Round of TPP Negotiations Open in Auckland

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

By Ernie Bower, Senior Adviser and Director of the Southeast Asia Program, CSIS

With a KORUS deal like wind in their sails, teams from the nine countries negotiating the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) kicked off their fifth round on Sunday in Auckland, New Zealand. Talks are advancing, and text is being negotiated.

The KORUS deal was the first part of a two-step process that could catapult the TPP to the head of a new trade dynamic in the Asia Pacific region. The second step is passage by the incoming 112th Congress. If the Obama Administration and Congressional Leadership can push KORUS through, the TPP agreement looks very real. Business now senses that a bridge between Capitol Hill and the White House on trade is possible. That means real muscle will be applied to passing the KORUS, and can be transferred seamlessly to the support for a TPP deal.

If KORUS passes, it is reasonable to expect that Korea will want to get into the TPP along with Japan – a country whose officials are making the rounds, and presenting the case that they are willing and able to put agriculture on the table and enter TPP negotiations in a serious way. At this point, it is unlikely that new countries would be added ahead of reaching an agreement before APEC 2011 in Honolulu, but the idea that Korea and Japan want in will further increase business interest and proactive support.

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