The USTR has recently released their schedule of informal meetings in the TPP negotiations. These will be held prior to the next formal round of meetings in Dallas. This aggressive schedule addressing topics such as intellectual property rights, investment, technical barriers to trade and rules of origin, shows USTR’s commitment to moving forward with the negotiations despite interest by new parties, and their commitment to completing a high-level, comprehensive agreement.
USTR is expected to complete negotiations on as many chapters as possible by early June. However, several items are only recently being negotiated; and controversial items such as labor rights … may require more time. On the other hand, there is also concern that with the United State’s elections so near, there is unlikely to be any significant advances for fear that [no one] will want to make any big decisions and offer concessions without knowing who the next U.S. president will be. Timing is still very much up in the air.
Gaibler, USGC: Once the TPP partners come close to finalizing these negotiations, the Administration must grant it Fast Track authority, which means Congress will consider the agreement as a whole and it will be voted either up or down without subject to amendments or ratification.
This is important because countries will be reluctant to finalize sensitive negotiations or serious concessions knowing that someone in Congress can take those away by offering amendments. The Administration has already signaled it will submit the Fast Track legislation at the appropriate time.
The Asia-Pacific region holds a wealth of potential for U.S. economic growth, specifically within the agriculture sector, and industry stakeholders will continue to strongly support its passage by the U.S. Congress.
Once enacted, the Trans-Pacific Partnership will vastly improve trade between the United States and its TPP partners by more adequately addressing regulatory incompatibilities that exist today between some of the nine countries.
Although Japan, Canada and Mexico have announced intentions to join negotiations, the next round will take place in Dallas, TX, in May and is open only to those who have formally committed to the TPP’s provisions. The USTR will release a TPP negotiation update on its website by this summer.