20 JUNE 2010: The second round of TPP talks reached an end at the weekend, with the USTR reporting "significant, positive" progress over the week.
Thursday's session reportedly involved discussion in the lead negotiator's group of how best to address the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises, transparency, and the issue of stable supply chains across the Asia-Pacific region. Other groups split to discuss capacity building, cross-border services, customs cooperation, e-commerce, financial services, government procurement, intellectual property rights, investment, labor, santiary/phytosanitary measures, and textiles.
The afternoon saw stakeholder presentations from the Center for Public Analysis on Trade and Health (CPATH) and the California Public Health Association-North (CPHAN). CPATH's presentation to the TPP negotiators is available online here. Another TPP presentation on energy services, made by the International Forum on Globalization's executive director, Victor Menotti, is available here.
Friday's session involved final negotiating group meetings on business mobility, capacity building, financial services, government procurement, intellectual property rights, sanitary/phytosanitary measures, textiles and 'trade remedies'. USTR reports it will hold a briefing in Washington DC this week to update the press on last week's round.
The USTR TPP blog also fielded a few questions last week, including one about the incorporation of Colombia into the TPP. Their indication was that "current TPP members have decided to focus initial expansion of the group on APEC member economies" (of which Colombia is presently not one). USTR instead reiterated its intention to resolve concerns regarding the US-Colombia FTA.
Reuters report that the eight member parties now hope to begin working out a draft text at the third round of talks in Brunei in October, and that US multinationals, including Wal-Mart, are lobbying keenly for a relaxation of existing rules of origin laws.