SINGAPORE - The TPP Ministerial Meeting is taking place in Singapore from February 22 to 25, at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.
Trade Ministers and officials from the 12 TPP countries - Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the United States, Vietnam and Singapore - have convened here for the meeting. Prior to this meeting, Chief Negotiators and subject matter experts also met in Singapore from February 17 to 21.
The TPP is envisioned as a high-quality and comprehensive trade agreement that will go beyond tariff elimination and other traditional trade issues to address emerging challenges faced by modern businesses. The agreement will cover both new and traditional trade and investment issues, and seeks to create jobs and promote economic development.
Besides tackling issues such as trade liberalisation in goods, services, investments, and government procurement, the TPP will include areas such as intellectual property rights, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary standards, competition policy, labour and environment. It will also incorporate new trade facilitation elements, such as the promotion of regulatory coherence, enhancement of cross-border supply chain connectivity and the facilitation of SMEs among TPP members.
The TPP also serves as a possible pathway to a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP). The 12 TPP countries represent a large market, where they account for nearly 40 per cent of global GDP and about one-third of all world trade.
The last Ministerial meeting was held in Singapore in December 2013, where the Ministers had a good discussion on the potential way forward for many outstanding issues in the text.