President Obama joined eight other countries on Monday in welcoming Mexico into talks aimed at reaching an Asia Pacific free trade agreement, otherwise known as the Trans Pacific Partnership.
We are delighted to invite Mexico, our neighbor and second-largest export market, to join the (Trans-Pacific Partnership) TPP negotiations,” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement after a meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon at the G-20 Summit in Los Cabos, Baja California del Sur.
The decision to accept Mexico’s application was jointly made by the nine countries currently negotiating the TPP pact: the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Chile, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei, U.S. officials said. Stakeholders were still considering Canada and Japans applications to join the partnership, applications that were submitted more than 7 months ago.
Japan’s possible entry has raised the most concern in the United States because of doubts that Tokyo is really prepared to significantly open its auto, agriculture and services markets to foreign competitors.
Canada’s application has been stalled by lingering questions over its willingness to negotiate changes to its agricultural supply management programs. However, experts are signaling that their could be a similar invitation extended to Canada in the next day or so.
The United States, Canada and Mexico are already involved in the controversial North American Free Trader Agreement (NAFTA) which was signed in 1994.
Since then, the economies of the three countries have become so interconnected that it is almost impossible for one of the countries to negotiate a trade agreement without including the others.
For from sending jobs offshore as labor interests erroneously claim, the proposed TPP agreement is part of a broader U.S. strategy to link our economy to the fast-growing markets in the Asia Pacific region. The countries involved in the talks are pursuing an agreement that has higher standards in areas such as labor, environment and intellectual property rights protections than previous trade accords and also reduces regulatory barriers to trade.
President Calderon, who leaves office in December of this year called it a “great piece of new”, that will help Mexico grow it’s economy and create jobs for the next 20 years and beyond.
Calderon stressed that the fact President Barack Obama has welcomed Mexico is an example of the strong bilateral relationship between the two countries.
He said the possibility of more trade means more jobs for Americans, for Mexicans and growth for both.
The nine members currently negotiating this trade agreement represent 26 percent of global GDP, 15 percent of exports and 18 percent of imports from around the world.
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