US trade officials call for swift completion of Asia-Pacific trade deal
April 25, 2012
U.S. trade officials are calling for the swift completion of an Asia-Pacific trade deal following meetings in Malaysia.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk wrapped up a visit to Malaysia on Tuesday, telling Prime Minister Najib tun Razak he wants to move forward quickly with the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
"As part of our very positive discussion about the trade relationship between the United States and Malaysia, I was pleased to indicate to Prime Minister Najib the United States' desire to work together to close remaining issues in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and to conclude an agreement as quickly as possible," Kirk said.
"The United States and Malaysia can work together to find creative approaches to achieve high standards across an eventual TPP agreement," Kirk said.
Currently the deal is between the United States and Malaysia as well as Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam and it seeks to eliminate tariffs and other barriers to trade in the region as an avenue to reviving the world economy.
Next month, the nations will hold the 12th round of talks in Dallas with the aim to complete the trade deal sometime this year, possibly as early as this summer.
Three other countries, Japan, Canada and Mexico, have asked to join the talks. So far, no decisions have been made on whether to give them a seat at the negotiating table.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Tuesday urged U.S. officials to let his country join the talks during a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
"In this very difficult time in the world economy, the world needs more trade and not less trade," Calderon said. "That is why Mexico is pushing a lot to be part of the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership."
The U.S.–Mexico Leadership Initiative unveiled a study that includes ways to strengthen economic ties through accords such as the TPP, as well as working together in sectors such as energy, financial services, transportation and agriculture.
“These recommendations should serve as a roadmap for policymakers in the U.S. and Mexico to advance a more prosperous economic partnership for both countries,” said Jodi Bond, the Chamber’s vice president for the Americas.
"By promoting the continent’s energy independence, making the U.S.-Mexico border the most streamlined and secure in the world, and enhancing intergovernmental cooperation, we can make both nations more competitive in global markets," she sad.
The U.S. is Mexico’s leading trade partner, and Mexico is the second-largest U.S. export market and third in total U.S. trade.
Approximately 6 million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Mexico, according to the Chamber.