Trading Up: Manufacturers Push for Strong Market-Opening Outcomes and High Standards as Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations Move Forward

By November 5, 2013Economy, Trade

After 19 formal rounds of negotiations and numerous intercessional meetings, the United States is working with its 11 negotiating partners to see if it can conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks by the end of this year. When completed, a final TPP would encompass a nearly $28 trillion market of almost 800 million consumers – or 40 percent of global trade. A comprehensive and high-standard TPP agreement could create important new opportunities for growing exports, expanding sales and increasing the competitiveness of manufacturers big and small throughout the United States.

To achieve such growth, manufacturers are strongly urging negotiators to achieve an agreement that will open markets, level the playing field and set strong standards that will enhance the competitiveness of manufacturers throughout the United States. Specifically, manufacturers are seeking strong and ambitious outcomes in a number of key areas, including market access, particularly with regard to Japan, Malaysia, and Vietnam; intellectual property (IP) rights; investor-state dispute settlement for manufacturers with investments overseas; new rules on cross-border data flows and state-owned enterprises; and, enforceability, including for sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) provisions.

The TPP agreement must include concrete market-opening provisions that will expand the ability of manufacturers in the United States to access the TPP markets, including through eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers and opening procurement and investment markets. Of particular interest to manufacturers are the markets of Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia where the United States does not already have a trade agreement in place.

A final TPP deal must also produce strong protections and robust enforcement for all types of intellectual property rights, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and confidential data, for all industries. Strong IP protection and enforcement is critical to ensure the competitiveness of manufacturers in all industries across the United States, the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. Securing commitments from all TPP countries that meet or exceed the standard set in the U.S.-Korea FTA and are consistent with U.S. law is vital.

Manufacturers are also urging TPP negotiators to pursue full investor-state dispute settlement for overseas investments. Ultimately, manufacturers will look for the TPP’s investment provisions to at least meet the standards included in the 2012 Model Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) text that the Obama Administration reached last year.

A final TPP agreement must also allow for cross-border data flows.  All manufacturers with cross-border investment and sales need policies that ensure their data can move freely across borders, that e-commerce is accepted and that server localization requirements are prohibited.

As well, the TPP should address other concerns that impede manufacturers’ success in the global economy, including through new rules on state-owned enterprises.

Finally, the TPP must be fully enforceable through binding dispute settlement, including new and stronger rules on sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

A comprehensive, market-opening and high-standard TPP agreement would provide enormous benefits to manufacturers big and small, but would also be important to spur growth and new opportunities among the other 11 TPP negotiating partners and their economies.

The TPP economies should stay at the table to ensure that the TPP negotiations yield the “comprehensive, next-generation regional agreement that liberalizes trade and investment and addresses new and traditional trade issues and 21st-century challenges” that TPP leaders called for two years ago. Manufacturers can afford nothing less.

Trading Up is a blog series from manufacturers, which focuses on the need for a comprehensive, high-standard Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that eliminates barriers, creates concrete new market access and levels the playing field for manufacturers in the United States.


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