In this article, Welles Orr discusses the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, saying that prospects are good that when the nine countries — Australia, Brunei Darussalem, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the U.S. — meet in Australia for the 11th round of talks in March, that a final deal could possibly be concluded in 2012. These eight countries make up the United States' fourth largest trading bloc with two-way goods trade of almost $170 billion.
It remains to be seen if the TPP can actually be concluded this year. All eyes are on just how much further progress can be made out of the robust negotiating schedule starting next month, combined with what would have to be the relatively seamless addition of Japan, Canada and Mexico to the full negotiations. Either way, the core focus of the administration's trade policy in this election year will be in bringing this “next generation, flagship” agreement to a successful conclusion.