April 22, 2013
Acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam, April 22 to meet with officials about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The TPP negotiations — which are aimed at a high-standard, comprehensive agreement to liberalize trade among member Asia-Pacific nations — are at an advanced stage, and minister-level officials for all the member countries committed in recent days to talk more with one another to make sure that key issues are resolved, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) said in an April 22 release.
As part of that effort, Marantis met with the head of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, Dang Ngoc Tung, to stress how important it is to the United States that the final TPP agreement include strong, enforceable labor provisions, including a responsibility to adopt and maintain the five core International Labour Organization standards on workers’ rights, including the freedom to associate.
Marantis expressed to Vietnamese Vice Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong the need for progress on investment issues that will improve access for U.S. investors. Marantis also discussed the importance of “high ambition” in the TPP, which will allow for greater flow of goods and services among TPP countries, USTR said.
The 11-member TPP — which is set to expand to include Japan following the successful conclusion of the domestic processes of the current TPP members — includes countries at varying levels of development. While all TPP partners are expected to meet the agreement’s standards, USTR said, the United States has committed to work with Vietnam to provide technical assistance and to consider other flexibilities that will help it meet the high standards of the TPP.