Asia Minute: Maui Hosts Asia Pacific Trade Deal Talks

Jul 24, 2015

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Marketing and Under Secretary Ed Avalos meets Peru's Agriculture Minister Juan Benites to discuss trade issues related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations at USDA in Washington, D. C. on Thursday, Apr. 23, 2015. USDA photo by Bob Nichols.
Credit U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

Among the thousands of visitors on Maui this weekend will be a group of international trade negotiators. They’ll be talking about the Trans Pacific Partnership—and later next week they’ll be joined by trade ministers from around the region. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

The Trans Pacific Partnership would link a dozen countries around the Asia Pacific…led by the United States.  Once upon a time, the goal was to complete negotiations by the end of the APEC leaders meeting in Honolulu….you may remember that was back in 2011.

The talks have obviously stretched out, but the major goals remain the same.  They include a lowering of trade barriers, as well as setting a framework for intellectual property rights, and setting shared standards for labor and environmental regulations.   The White House calls the TPP “the most progressive trade agreement in history,” but the details of the proposed deal are not public.  In fact, they are such a closely guarded secret that the only public source of information about them has been portions of the draft published by WikiLeaks.  According to those excerpts, the substance of the TPP is considered by the US government to be classified.

We do know the eleven other countries involved in the talks—in alphabetical order they include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.  The trade ministers from all those countries are scheduled to meet on Maui from next Tuesday through Friday.