U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, on a three day visit to Vietnam, says he is confident the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 'mega regional' trade pact, will be completed this year. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed confidence on Friday (August 7) that an ambitious Pacific trade pact could be completed this year, calling it an opportunity to improve the standards of doing business in the region. Kerry said many challenges remained in thrashing out a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), particularly on issues of autos and dairy, but the United States would do everything in its power to make it happen. "We believe that what it will create is a movement to the top rather than the bottom of business practices and of engagement between countries. We are very confident about the commitment of countries to this effort. But it's always difficult to work through one particular sector of an economy or another," Kerry said. The U.S.-inspired TPP is a "mega regional" accord set to cover 12 countries with a combined gross domestic product of $28 trillion, among them Australia and Japan. The TPP would connect the 12 economies by cutting trade barriers and harmonising standards covering two-fifths of the world economy and a third of global trade. Kerry recognised there were challenges dealing with different national economies, but stressed that the TPP was an opportunity to improve the standards of business in the region and be beneficial to participating countries. "I am very very confident that TPP is going to boost trade, improve worker standards, improve environment standards, have a consequence of really raising the standards of business of 40 per cent of the global economy and for that reason I am absolutely confident that ultimately it is not only going to be agreed to among the nations, but it will be accepted and ratified by the participating countries," he added. Vietnam's export-dominated economy could be among the biggest beneficiaries of the TPP because of its farm and fisheries resources, cheap labour and growing manufacturing sector, especially in textiles, footwear, telephones and televisions. Among its investors are Samsung, LG and Microsoft. Vietnam has some lingering concerns on TPP, including issues related to labour, which Kerry said could be settled. TPP trade ministers discussing the pact, which would stretch from Japan to Chile, have said an agreement is within reach, despite the failure last week to settle differences at talks in Hawaii.