Since the World Trade Organization can't seem to get a new global trade agreement going, countries are left on their own to work out differences and solidify markets for the free flow of goods. One big example, discussed this week in Asia is the Trans-Pacific Partnership. A statement issued by leaders of the involved countries notes that the agreement is on track for completion.
In the statement, released by the White House, the leaders note that "ministers and negotiators have made significant progress in recent months on all the legal texts and annexes on access to our respective goods, services, investment, financial services, government procurement, and temporary entry markets."
The TPP has been in the works for some time. The agreement includes Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam. Japan joined the negotiations in April, which broadened the scope of the partnership.
In the joint statement, the leaders note that the final TPP agreement "must reflect our common vision to establish a comprehensive, next-generation model for addressing both new and traditional trade and investment issues, supporting the creation and retention of jobs and promoting economic development in our countries."
The leaders note that negotiators "should now proceed to resolve all outstanding issues with the objective of completing this year a comprehensive and balanced, regional agreement that achieves the goals we established in Honolulu in 2011."
It will be several months before a final agreement is developed, then each member country must sign off on the partnership. Enhancing trade in the region and changing the tariff structure could benefit U.S. agriculture by opening markets to more farm products. For example, Japan remains closed to a lot of U.S. products, but this partnership could change that.
China is not on the list of countries for the TPP, which some analysts worry could alienate the Asian giant. At first China was against TPP, but has taken a more conciliatory tone lately, according to wire reports.