SINGAPORE: Business representatives from the Asia-Pacific region, who converged for the 16th round of Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP) negotiations currently underway in Singapore, urged negotiators to show flexibility and narrow the range of differences so that the negotiations can be brought to conclusion as soon as possible.
The call was made in a joint statement released here today.
Business organisations which supported this call include Asia Pacific Chambers of Commerce, Canadian Agri-food Trade Alliance, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Emergency Committee for American Trade, Foreign Trade Association of Peru, National Center for APEC, New Zealand International Business Forum,
Singapore Business Federation, US-Asean Business Council and Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
These national business organisations, representing thousands of companies and millions of employees from their respective APEC economies, are putting their consolidated efforts in support of the speedy conclusion of the negotiation.
Ho Meng Kit, Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore Business Federation said: “It is to the businesses’ interest that the negotiations should be concluded sooner than later so that companies could benefit and help their businesses to grow.
"However, bearing in mind that TPP should be a high quality agreement, we don’t want to sacrifice substance for speed.
“We welcome new parties to join the TPP but we hope that the inclusion of new participating economies would not slow down the current negotiation process.”
Calman Cohen, President of the Emergency Committee for American Trade said: “We support TPP because it can provide the framework which enables business to create the conditions for growth in the region.”
He said TPP is about eliminating barriers to trade and investment, reducing the costs of doing business and enhancing the operation of regional supply chains.
"Addressing these issues will allow business to invest, expand and support and create jobs," he added.
President of the US-Asean Business Council, Alexander Feldman said:“TPP should not be seen as an exclusive club, it is in fact meant to be a living agreement."
While eleven economies are currently involved, Feldman said:"We hope others in Asean sharing the vision of a high quality, comprehensive, and ambitious agreement will join over time, thus creating a pathway to an even wider agreement in the region."
Monica Whaley, President of the US National Centre for APEC, meanwhile noted that the TPP will serve as an important building block for APEC’s long-term vision of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.
She said it will establish high standards for the rules that govern trade and investment in Asia-Pacific and will solidify economic ties between countries on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.
Asia-Pacific business organisations had earlier reaffirmed their view that a successful TPP will be comprehensive, of high quality, ambitious, innovative, enforceable and a living agreement which is open to accession by other Asia-Pacific economies, provided these economies share TPP's ambitious vision
and can demonstrate their ability to accede to an agreement with the characteristics described above.
Hoang Van Dung, First Vice President of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry noted that with the high quality and inclusive nature, the TPP should benefit all participating parties.
Jayson Myers, President & CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters said: “The bottom line is that businesses need a comprehensive and ambitious TPP that opens up opportunities, strengthens trade rules and improves business conditions
in the region just as much as the world trading system needs a 21st century trade agreement that effectively addresses behind the border issues.
"We urge negotiators to maintain momentum and deliver a high quality agreement as soon as possible”, said Myers.
Business representatives from TPP member economies joined government negotiators and other representatives of civil society at a TPP Stakeholder event in Singapore today.-- Bernama