Welles Orr Comments on TPP Negotiations in Law360

"US Compromises Are Key To Propelling TPP Negotiations"
Law 360
08.22.13

In this article, Welles Orr comments on the latest round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks in Brunei. "Topping a list of the toughest unresolved issues in the TPP negotiations -- which also include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam -- are provisions that would increase market access for goods that fall under existing trade protections," he said.

Orr explained, "Sugar, for example, has been a point of contention between the U.S. and Australia, in part because Australia is one of the world's largest sugar producers and the U.S. maintains a system that imposes higher tariffs on sugar imports that exceed a certain quota. Other tensions exist between the U.S. and New Zealand on dairy products and between the U.S. and Vietnam with respect to textiles, an area in which the U.S. has employed tariff protections and Vietnam has pushed for greater access to the U.S. market."

"The TPP participants also have yet to reach total agreement on some "outlier" issues, including certain proposals for intellectual property protections, addressing some countries' concerns about state-owned companies' affects on competition, and labor and environmental provisions that could be included in a final agreement," Orr said.

Japan's entry into the negotiations has also created additional pressure, "But the commitments Japan may eventually agree to in the TPP may also come down to how much ground the U.S. is willing to give with other TPP countries," according to Orr. "If the U.S. agrees to a textile provision that satisfies Vietnam, reaches a sugar deal that eases Australia's concerns and resolves its issues with New Zealand over dairy products, those, in turn, could put further pressure on Japan to make meaningful commitments to open up its auto, insurance and agriculture markets," Orr said.

"We know Japan is going to make a good offer," he said. "Japan is not just going to pick their cards up and go home."

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