NEW YORK (Sputnik) — The latest round of negotiations between 12 countries surrounding the secretive and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will begin on Tuesday in the US state of Hawaii.
“We have made considerable progress in closing gaps on remaining issues, and we continue to work intensively to address specific issues bilaterally,” the Office of the US Trade Representative stated earlier in July.
Trade ministers from 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including the United States, Australia, Japan, Mexico and Canada, last met in May 2015.
“The upcoming ministerial provides an important opportunity to build on this progress as we work to conclude the negotiation,” the Office of the US Trade Representative added.
The TPP deal is geared towards securing commercial agreements between the United States and 11 other nations, including Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea, and Malaysia. The deal is expected to cover about 40 percent of the global economy.
Among the nations involved in TPP negotiations, 53 percent of the people say the deal would be good for their country, while 23 percent think it would be negative, according to a Pew Research Center Poll issued on July 21, 2015.
The Obama administration argues that new trade deals will allow Washington to shape the international economy to benefit US interests.
Opponents of the deal, such as US Senator Barbara Boxer and former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, have previously slammed the Obama administration’s secrecy regarding the TPP, as all meetings are held behind closed doors.
The Hawaii based Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-Violent Education and Action has called on locals to protest outside of the event-space on July 29. The group aims to garner the attendance of at least 400 demonstrators to rally against the potential consequences of the TPP, according to the group’s Facebook page.
The TPP will endanger public health laws, environmental protections, labor rights, patent policies that insure affordable medicine as well as other public interest polices, the group said on its website.
The current round of ministerial negotiations will last until July 31, 2015.