Coming into the 15th negotiating round for TPP, attention was focused squarely on the two newest countries to join the negotiations – Canada & Mexico.
Chief negotiator for New Zealand David Walker explained “We had two main objectives coming into this round – the first was to ensure the smooth integration of Canada and Mexico into the negotiation. We achieved that in large part because both countries came to Auckland well prepared to engage across the TPP negotiating process.”
Canada and Mexico joining the negotiations was an important step. Everything that has been negotiated and decided on up to this point is unchangeable. Both nations who were previously undecided on joining the agreement see value in what has been accomplished to date. With global powerhouse Japan and fast-rising Thailand both showing interest in joining TPP, demonstrating Canada and Mexico’s smooth integration into negotiations was an important step.
Walker said the negotiating group “welcomed the positive contributions made by Canada and Mexico this week.”
Walker said that the focus at this 15th round of negotiations had been on technical issues within the legal texts. “We have been working to resolve a number of the more technical issues involved in those areas, and to more clearly frame up some of the substantive differences on more challenging issues that will need to be resolved as we look to bring negotiations to a conclusion.”