'Shot in arm' as Mexico joins TPP trade talks
Mexico has formally joined the negotiations to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.
Mexico’s move was announced by New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser, as this country is acting as the Depository of the TPP agreement.
Mr Groser describes it as a “shot in the arm for the TPP”.
Mexico is New Zealand’s largest goods trading partner in Latin America and 27th largest trading partner overall, with total trade worth $636 million in the year to December 2011.
Mr Groser says the inclusion of Mexico in TPP will drive the economic relationship forward and is consistent with New Zealand’s goal of expanding markets for exports and investments.
TPP ministers met earlier this month in Kazan, Russia, to take stock of progress in the negotiations.
They welcomed the solid progress made to date and instructed negotiators to work as quickly as possible to achieve the comprehensive, high standard outcome directed by TPP leaders in Honolulu last November.
“Today’s developments are a further demonstration of the groundswell of momentum continuing to grow behind this agreement,” Mr Groser says.
“I expect further substantial progress to be achieved at the next TPP round, to be held in San Diego early next month.”
The next step for Mexico joining the negotiations will be for the nine current TPP participants – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam – to complete any applicable domestic legal procedures.
This may take some weeks or months.
Two other countries, Canada and Japan, have also indicated a desire to join the TPP negotiations.
Japan had not formally requested to join the negotiation, although it was keenly interested in TPP’s progress and was consulting domestically on next steps.
Canada had formally signalled its interest in joining the negotiation and was engaged in intensive consultations with the TPP parties about its entry.
“We look forward to welcoming both to the negotiation once we have established procedures for their entry that are acceptable to their governments and to ours,” Mr Groser says.
“In both their cases, New Zealand will wish to ensure that the high level of ambition as contained in the statements of Leaders and Ministers in Honolulu late last year is maintained.”