U.S. Welcomes Japan to Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Talks

Acting USTR, Demetrios Marantis
Acting USTR, Ambassador Demetrios Marantis

Washington,
April 22. 2013

Acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis April 21 hailed a “steady march forward” on job-supporting trade and investment priorities at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings of ministers responsible for trade, and he reiterated the United States’ welcome to Japan as the newest participant in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks.

Marantis led the U.S. delegation at the APEC meetings in Surabaya, Indonesia, and chaired meetings of the 11 TPP ministers on the margins of the APEC event, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) said.

“The cooperative work of APEC economies in Surabaya has underscored the essential contributions this body is making to trade and economic growth in the Asia-Pacific and around the world,” said Marantis, who praised Indonesia’s leadership in hosting the gathering. “From steps to improve supply chain performance, increase trade in environmental goods, promote innovation and adopt better regulatory practices, to tackling the troubling trend of local content requirements, there is a steady march forward by APEC economies to deepen our economic integration and improve opportunities in the region.”

Marantis also welcomed the announcement April 20 that TPP ministers had agreed by consensus to bring Japan into the ambitious regional trade talks, pending successful conclusion of each member’s respective domestic procedures.

“TPP negotiations continue to move forward at a dynamic and promising pace. The TPP membership was already robust, presenting economic opportunities for the United States and every member country, and the addition of Japan increases its significance and its potential across the board,” Marantis said.

As the APEC meetings came to a close, Marantis and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Michael Punke, the U.S. ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO), cited the broadening concern among APEC economies about the scope and direction of multilateral trade discussions in Geneva.

“APEC economies cautioned this week that there must be a course correction if the WTO is to produce any results on trade facilitation and other key priorities at the Bali ministerial this December,” Marantis said. “We share the determination of our fellow APEC members to work together and shape a realistic package in Geneva now. This is necessary not only to produce economic opportunities for Members, especially developing countries, but also to restore faith in the WTO’s ability to deliver multilateral results.”

From Surabaya, Marantis will travel to Hanoi, Vietnam, for meetings on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and bilateral issues, USTR said.