On December 10, 2013, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”) free trade talk was wrapped up a ministerial negotiation session without a full agreement in Singapore. At the end of the meeting, the statement of the ministers and heads of delegation for the TPP countries announced that they have made “substantial progress” toward completing the TPP. Although the trade talk missed the December 2013 target for ending the talk, they expressed the member countries identified potential “landing zones” for the majority of key outstanding issues in the text. They decided to continue their “intensive work” to finalize the agreement and expressed the intention to follow up negotiation work and meet again in January 2014.
The key issues to prevent the whole negotiation was the conflict between Japan and the United States, which have had trade in goods issues including Japanese tariffs on farm products as well as auto import in the United States. They failed to fill the gaps during the key session in Singapore. In addition to tariff issues, the TPP member states have also agreed to carry over to next year on other remaining issues such as intellectual property rights and reform of state-owned firms.
The TPP has now 12 member states, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam, which represent about 40 percent of world GDP and one-third of world trade.