Chief negotiators of the 12 countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are to meet in Atlanta for four days from tomorrow (26 September), in what could be the final negotiating sessions for the deal.

Negotiators will be joined by the trade ministers from next Wednesday to finalise agreements in areas including market access, rules of origin, agriculture, intellectual property, state-owned enterprises, and government procurement. The American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) has said it will attend the discussions on behalf of the industry. 

If a deal is reached, Congress could consider implementing legislation during 2016, the AAFA has said.

Trade ministers have been scrambling to try and forge an agreement, after the last meeting in Hawaii failed to clinch a deal. But the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) yesterday said Trade Ministers and negotiators have been making good progress toward resolving the limited number of outstanding issues.

The USTR this week released a detailed summary of the most recent US negotiating objectives on the TPP in an effort to make trade negotiations more accessible and transparent to the public and Congress representatives.

For textiles and apparel, the USTR has set out a number of objectives:

  • Eliminate tariffs on textile and apparel exports to TPP countries.
  • Secure a “yarn forward” rule of origin, which requires that textile and apparel products be made using US or other TPP country yarns and fabrics to qualify for the benefits of the Agreement.
  • Establish a carefully crafted “short supply” list, which would allow fabrics, yarns, and fibres that are not commercially available in TPP countries to be sourced from non-TPP countries and used in the production of apparel in the TPP region without losing duty preference.
  • Secure strict enforcement provisions and customs cooperation commitments that will provide for verification of claims of origin or preferential treatment, and denial of preferential treatment or entry for suspect goods if claims cannot be verified.
  • Establish a textile specific safeguard mechanism that will allow the United States and other TPP countries to re-impose tariffs on certain goods if a surge in imports causes or threatens to cause serious damage to domestic producers.

“This report is a detailed look at what we are fighting for at the TPP negotiating table,” said US Trade Representative Michael Froman. “We...are following through on delivering the high standard deal Congress and the American people expect.”

Chief transparency officer Tim Reif, added: “This is another in a series of steps this Administration has taken to share information at every step of the TPP negotiating process. Through detailed summaries, a robust congressional consultation process, outreach to a more diverse set of stakeholders, and public input on negotiating aims, we continue to build a more open and transparent negotiation process. We are always looking to do more, and appreciate the important steps taken on transparency in the Trade Promotion Authority law.”

Click here to view the full USTR report.