NEW ZEALAND: TPP talks "continue to advance"
The fifteenth round of talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact "continued to advance" efforts to develop a tariff package on textiles, according to negotiators.
They also made progress on rules of origin promoting the development of supply chains that include companies based in the US and other TPP countries, a statement said.
The TPP pact is currently being negotiated by the US, Vietnam, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia and Peru, with new members Canada and Mexico also joining the talks for the first time.
Despite negotiators saying they made "solid steps forward" in closing the remaining gaps between them, textiles remain a major issue in the discussions.
This is because the negotiating parties include Vietnam, a major apparel producer that mainly sources yarns and fabrics from China and other Asian nations.
In October a report from the Congressional Research Service said Vietnam's involvement in the TPP free trade agreement has the potential to shift global trading patterns for textiles and demand for US textile exports.
Textile industry trade groups have also repeatedly urged the United States to insist on a "yarn forward" rule, requiring that yarn production, fabric production, and cutting and sewing of the finished garment all occur within the TPP region for the garment to enter the US duty-free.
On the other side, retailers and apparel companies want to be able to import apparel from the lowest-cost producer, regardless of whether US textiles are used, and are urging that textiles and apparel be treated like other products in any TPP agreement.
The 16th round of TPP talks will be held in Singapore from 4-13 March.
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