Representatives from eight Pacific-rim nations met in San Francisco last month for the second round of negotiations aimed at establishing a new regional free trade zone.
The U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks were “significant and positive” and that negotiators are planning to table a text of all chapters of the agreement in the third negotiating round, scheduled for October in Brunei.
The agreement is being negotiated by Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. It would cover the trade in goods, services, customs procedures, intellectual property, import safeguards, government procurement, dispute settlement, technical barriers to trade, and competition policy.
The Washington-based Public Citizen has criticized the TPP for ignoring labour and human rights.
“Vietnam and Brunei are simply not appropriate partners for a U.S. trade pact, given the lack of democracy and observance of basic workers’ and other human rights in those countries” and “limitations on full democratic rights in Singapore are also problematic,” the group said in a statement issued in January.