MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Washington aims to smooth out the remaining issues preventing the TPP, a wide-ranging trade agreement that has been negotiated in unusual secrecy, from going forward.
“The United States will host a meeting of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Ministers in Atlanta, GA from September 30th – October 1st,” the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) said.
The chief negotiators to the highly secret TPP preceded the upcoming ministerial session in four-day talks that began on Saturday. Previously, the ministers and negotiators of 12 TPP member states met in July.
US President Barack Obama, expressing confidence in completing the unpopular deal by the end of 2015, is set to take part in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in the Philippines and the East Asia Summit in Malaysia in November.
Malaysia began negotiating membership in the TPP in 2010, followed by Mexico and Canada two years later. The trade pact’s inaugural members, dating back to 2008, are Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The anticipated deal is said to cover around 40 percent of the global economy.
Philippines, alongside Colombia, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea have all expressed interest in joining the free trade agreement.
Labor unions and watchdogs have slammed the TPP over uncertain implications for workers’ rights, employment relations and the environment.