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Hawaii:9 countries agree on TPP outline

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Laaska News  Nov. 13,2011

Leaders of the Untied States, Australia and 7 other countries say they have reached agreement on a broad outline for the Trans-Pacific Partnership framework.

The 9 leaders released a statement after a summit meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Saturday.

In the statement, the leaders emphasized that their countries will address the elimination of tariffs among the TPP partners. They also said the countries will work together toward reinforcing intellectual property rights and providing substantive legal protections for investors.

The statement says the 9 countries recognize that there are sensitive issues yet to be negotiated for each country.

It says they have agreed to seek appropriate ways to deal with these issues, taking into account the countries’ diverse levels of development.

The countries negotiating the TPP hope to resume the talks as early as next month.

The United States had originally wanted to finalize the agreement at this round of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. But the 9 countries ended up with only the broad outline after prolonged negotiations on tariff elimination and other topics.

US President Barack Obama said he has directed his team to finalize the agreement in the coming year.

Referring to Japan’s earlier decision, he said each country has trade items it wants exempted from tariff elimination rules. He said he understands that Japan faces a difficult challenge on agricultural imports. But he stressed that he cannot delay the negotiations.

Japan recently announced its decision to begin consultations with member countries of Trans-Pacific Partnership toward joining negotiations on the free-trade framework.
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