The United States supports the addition of Malaysia, its 16th-largest trading partner, in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) through which we will continue to deepen our strong economic partnerships across the Asia-Pacific region, says U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. "U.S. participation in the TPP negotiations is predicated on the objective we share with our current TPP negotiating partners … of expanding the group to additional countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region and securing a high standard agreement," Kirk wrote in a recent letter to Congress.
"Malaysia’s inclusion in the TPP negotiations will contribute meaningfully to these goals and to the development of the high standard, 21st-century, regional trade agreement we are seeking." The TPP, was created in 2006 by Singapore, New Zealand and Chile, and Brunei Darussalam as a platform for region-wide economic integration. Officials from the nine current TPP member economies — Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States — aim to shape the TPP to reflect the trade issues faced by workers in the 21st-century, including new issues such as addressing non-tariff barriers, so our traders can operate across borders more seamlessly and helping small- and medium-sized businesses, which are a key source of innovation and jobs, and participate more actively in international trade. We are also working to enhance environmental protection and conservation, transparency, worker rights and protections, and development.
The United States views the TPP as a priority initiative through which we can engage with the Asia- Pacific and increase economic cooperation across the region. "This is an important step in expanding trade with one of the world’s fastest-growing regions," U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President for Asia Tami Overby said during the Brunei negotiations.
President Obama’s administration remains committed to engaging Asia. In 2009, President Obama became the first president to attend a meeting with all ten leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and, in 2010, he chaired the first U.S.-ASEAN leaders meeting to take place in the United States. In 2011, the United States will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. At a U.S.-APEC leaders meeting in September, President Obama reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to trade with region, "Through APEC and initiatives like the Trans-Pacific Partnership," he said, "we’re pursuing trade relationships that benefit all our countries."