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Finish an ambitious TPP in 2013 say business leaders

Joint Statement

4 September 2012

Finish an ambitious TPP in 2013, say Asia Pacific business leaders

On the eve of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting to be in held in Vladivostok, Russia, business organisations from around the APEC region have once again joined together to urge participants in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to complete negotiations as soon as possible in 2013 and to hold to the ambitious aims set for the final agreement:

“We call on the TPP Leaders to move forward expeditiously and boldly in order to achieve an ambitious, comprehensive and high-standard outcome in TPP. We welcome the recent addition of Canada and Mexico to these negotiations and the potential participation of other Asia-Pacific economies. The addition of new partners will increase the benefits and value of this agreement, but we urge that negotiators maintain the momentum in the negotiations to achieve the vision of the TPP. While substance will need to drive the negotiating agenda, we urge that all steps be taken to bring the negotiations to a conclusion in early 2013.”

Asia Pacific business organisations reaffirm their view that a successful TPP will be:

Comprehensive, with no product exclusions and with commercially meaningful and flexible rules of origin.
High quality, with strong standards across all main areas, from transparency, investment and government procurement to intellectual property, e-commerce and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.
Ambitious, with the elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers on trade in goods and services and investment no later than 2020, the deadline set for free and open trade and investment in the Bogor goals.
Innovative, with concrete new commitments on new generation and behind the border issues, including eliminating chokepoints in the operation of regional supply and value chains, fostering small and medium-sized business participation in expanding trade, facilitating regulatory coherence, and promoting and protecting innovation.
Enforceable, with clear commitments, and strong and transparent state-to-state and investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanisms.
A living agreement, open to accession by other Asia-Pacific economies, provided these economies share TPP’s ambitious vision and can demonstrate their ability to accede to an agreement with the characteristics described above.

At the APEC Summit in Honolulu last year, the TPP Leaders affirmed their vision of a TPP that would be a “comprehensive, next-generation regional agreement” and a “model for ambition”’ for other trade agreements, with the vision of “forging closer linkages among our economies, enhancing our competitiveness, benefitting our consumers and supporting the creation and retention of jobs, higher living standards, and the reduction of poverty in our countries.”

“As representatives of business throughout the TPP economies, we share the founding vision of TPP,” said Calman Cohen, President of the Emergency Committee for American Trade (ECAT), which serves as secretariat of the U.S. Business Coalition for TPP. “The U.S. Business Coalition for TPP and our other business-community colleagues believe strongly that the TPP negotiators can accomplish the twin goals of attaining a comprehensive and high-standard TPP and doing so in an ambitious timeframe. Not only are those goals mutually compatible, they are both critical for the successful outcome of these negotiations.”

“With the lack of progress on the WTO Doha Round, large scale regional agreements like the TPP provide a pathway for increased trade and investment liberalisation. TPP will assist to arrest the slide back into protectionism by many countries in the wake of the economic crisis. It provides a debt-free stimulus to the economies that will shape our future well-being,” said Peter Anderson, Chief Executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“TPP will open up critical business opportunities at an important time in the world economy,” says Jayson Myers, President and CEO of Canada’s largest trade and industry association, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME). “We look forward to Canada joining the negotiations once the U.S. consultation process is complete. Canadian business continues to stand behind our negotiators so they can hit the ground running and maintain the momentum gained after 13 successful rounds.”

“TPP provides a potential pathway for making progress towards the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific. TPP is a complex undertaking but the potential gains to growth and jobs are simply too big to be left on the table,” said Stephen Jacobi, Executive Director of the NZ US Council.

“While we recognize the complexity of the on-going TPP negotiations, we would like to see an early conclusion of the TPP negotiations, thus delivering benefits to businesses as early as possible. And in the negotiation process, we hope that more companies, especially those in Asia, will be closely consulted in ensuring their needs and priorities are well addressed. Being one of the largest economies in Asia, we hope to see Japan follow up on its earlier declaration and formally join the TPP negotiations,” commented Ho Meng Kit, CEO of the Singapore Business Federation.


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