HM Sultan Brunei: Good Momentum for TPP








QURATUL-AIN BANDIAL

BEIJING, Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said he sees “good momentum” building towards the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), although key challenges still remain.

Yesterday, the monarch attended a TPP leaders meeting hosted by US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Beijing.

The US-led trade pact would establish a free-trade bloc among 12 countries in the Pacific Rim — encompassing about 800 million people and almost 40 per cent of the global economy — but a final deal has been stalled due to disputes over agriculture and intellectual property policies.

During the TPP meeting held at the US embassy, His Majesty said a lot of work has been done to address specific concerns of TPP countries in order to create a “well-balanced” agreement.

With regards to Brunei, the monarch said he valued the assistance given to the Sultanate to tackle “challenging parts of the agreement”.

His Majesty also expressed confidence that momentum will continue in order to conclude the long-awaited trade pact, and that the necessary resources will be dedicated to close the remaining gaps.

Although the United States is keen to tie up the agreement by 2015, officials in Beijing declined to commit to a timeline to conclude negotiations.

Business leaders attending the APEC forum have been looking for signs of progress on the TPP, especially as China is pushing for a separate trade liberalisation framework called the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP).

Political analysts say the competing trade deals pit the US against China, who is trying to claim a bigger role in US-dominated global trade, security and financial structures.

However, Obama took a more conciliatory tone in Beijing yesterday, saying if the two countries can work together, “the whole world will benefit”.

“Economic prosperity is not a zero sum game,” he told a gathering of global business leaders at the APEC CEO summit.

“We welcome the rise of a peaceful, prosperous and stable China. This is also in America and the world’s best interests.”

The Brunei Times

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