|Mexico invited to join US-backed Pacific free trade agreement talks|
|Written by Administrator|
|Tuesday, 19 June 2012 14:43|
Mexico invited to join US-backed Pacific free
trade agreement talks
June 18, 2012
"We are obviously two of our most important trading partners to each other, but we both recognize that growth is going to take place in the Asia Pacific region," President Obama said at the meeting of the G-20 in Los Cabos, Mexico.
The administration has been negotiating the free-trade agreement — the only major trade deal high on the U.S. agenda at the moment — with Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
Until this week, NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada had been unable to meet conditions needed to join the talks.
The U.S. had pressured Mexico to resolve issues related to the beef and potato trade as well as to intellectual property protection. The U.S. also wanted Mexico to agree on negotiating labor and environmental provisions which are not in NAFTA.
The announcement now puts pressure on Canada to make agricultural trade concessions in order not to be left out. So far, Canada has resisted putting its supply-managed dairy and livestock sectors on the table.
"[M]ost importantly, at this time of recession in some areas of the world, of a slowdown in others, the TPP, or Trans-Pacific Partnership, perhaps represents the greatest potential area of growth in an entire decade," Mexican President Felipe Calderon said in response to the announcement, which was timed to coincide with the G-20 summit in Mexico. "So this is a great piece of news for Mexicans because it implies jobs and economic growth for at least the next two decades."
There have been 12 rounds of negotiations since TPP talks started under President George W. Bush's administration. The next round is in San Diego in July.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) welcomed the news.
"I applaud Mexico’s decision to resolve key issues and its commitment to adopt TPP’s high standards and ambition," he said.
Republicans in Congress want President Obama to push for fast-track trade negotiating authority as soon as possible in order to smooth a TPP deal. Unless fast-track is renewed, the administration will not be able to complete the TPP talks without worries that Congress could delay or amend any final agreement.
Japan is also seeking to join the TPP talks but doing so would mean putting its highly protected farm sector on the table.
As more nations join the talks, the TPP is fast becoming the most ambitious trade agreement the U.S. has ever undertaken.
To view this story at its original source, follow this link: http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/1005-trade/233221-mexico-invited-to-join-us-backed-pacific-trade-talks