• Other states eyeing TPP membership

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    The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is gaining interest from other Asia-Pacific economies, leaders of the 12-member trade agreement said, noting that the deal would benefit the entire Pacific Rim.

    In a statement issued on the sidelines of annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, leaders of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam welcomed the successful conclusion of TPP talks last month.

    “We congratulate our ministers and negotiating teams, after more than five years of negotiations, on delivering a result that achieves the goal set out in 2011 of a comprehensive, balanced, and transformational regional agreement — one that spans the Pacific, touches three continents, and unites 800 million people,” the leaders said.

    “We are pleased that the negotiated text of the TPP agreement is now available in full for review and consideration before it is signed. We look forward following signature to the expeditious consideration and approval of the TPP, consistent with each of our domestic processes,” they added.

    The leaders stressed that while their focus was on the approval and implementation of the TPP, they had also noted interest from a number of economies.

    “This interest affirms that through TPP we are creating a new and compelling model for trade in one of the world’s fastest growing and most dynamic regions,” they said.

    The Philippines has expressed its interest in joining the TPP once the group opens up to new members. It had previously balked at seeking membership given reports of strict conditions.

    “We were not invited to the TPP to begin with but we are expecting to be invited when they do open up membership,” President Benigno Aquino 3rd said during the recently concluded APEC CEO Summit.

    Going forward, the TPP leaders said they would focus on fully implementing the agreement so that consumers, workers, farmers and businesses could realize shared benefits.

    The TPP aims to strengthen and broaden mutually-beneficial linkages between Asia Pacific economies; enhance regional and global competitiveness; support the creation of jobs and new opportunities for young people; promote economic growth and development in the countries within the region; support innovation and help to alleviate poverty; and ensure the greatest benefits for people in Asia Pacific.

    It is seen as a step towards the wider Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific, an initiative of the 21-member APEC that includes the 12 TPP signatories.

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