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NFTC Welcomes U.S. Entry Into Trade Negotiations with Four Asia-Pacific Nations
Date: 9/22/2008
Written By: Jennifer Cummings or Eric Thomas, The Fratelli Group for NFTC, 202-822-9491

Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement to Boost Regional Ties

Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today welcomed an announcement by the U.S. Trade Representative that the United States will enter into negotiations to join a free trade agreement (FTA) with Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore – the “P-4” group of countries. The agreement, titled the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, was negotiated by the P-4 nations exclusively and entered into force in 2006. Today marked the launch of negotiations for the United States to enter into the agreement.

“Given the uncertain state of the global economy, today’s news is a welcome development and serves as an important stepping stone in laying the foundation for increased trade and investment between the United States and four of our Asia-Pacific partners,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch. “We applaud U.S. and P-4 trade negotiators for their efforts to reach this point, and we urge them to continue this productive dialogue to craft a mutually beneficial, high-standard agreement.”

“Entering into an agreement with the P-4 countries offers an opportunity to open and expand access to a critically important region of the world,” said Chuck Dittrich, NFTC Vice President for Regional Trade Initiatives. “The Asia-Pacific region has successfully negotiated and put into force more than one hundred bilateral and regional agreements to date, and it is in the United States’ best interest to further build and expand relations with the P-4 nations.”

Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore are helping to drive economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region, which represents nearly 60 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) and roughly 50 percent of international trade.