The joint statement of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Commission highlights countries’ commitment to “open supply chains, active communication, transparency, and prompt notification of trade measures”.
The CPTPP members express their resolve to examine ways the CPTPP could be used to facilitate digital trade responses to COVID-19.
The ministers and senior officials representing Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Viet Nam issued a joint statement following the third meeting of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP) Commission.
The third meeting of the CPTPP Commission convened virtually on 5 August 2020, and was hosted by Mexico.
The joint statement recognizes the “unprecedented challenges” posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to the health and well-being of communities, social cohesion, livelihoods, and adherence to the principles of free and open trade. The statement highlights CPTPP members’ “commitment to rules-based trade by maintaining open supply chains, active communication, transparency, and prompt notification of trade measures.” It underscores the importance of countering protectionism and reinforcing “an open, effective, fair, inclusive and rules-based trading system to restore economic growth worldwide.”
The CPTPP members express their resolve to continue work towards post-COVID-19 economic recovery by establishing and strengthening supply chains, and examining ways the CPTPP could be used to facilitate digital trade responses to COVID-19. The countries commit to avoid “unjustified trade restrictive measures” and to facilitate the flow of essential goods and services during the COVID-19 crisis, including medical supplies and equipment, medicines, and agriculture and food products “in a manner consistent with international trade rules.”
The CPTPP members reaffirm their “strong commitment” to upholding and supporting the World Trade Organization (WTO), which “sits at the core of the rules-based Multilateral Trading System.” The countries indicate that they “will work to inject increased momentum into WTO reform, including of its dispute settlement system.”
The CPTTP Agreement entered into force on 30 December 2018. The inaugural meeting of the CPTPP Commission took place on 19 January 2019 in Tokyo, Japan, where members discussed elements needed for effective implementation of the Agreement, and how it can be expanded in the future. The Commission adopted a joint statement and four decisions on: an approach to administering the Agreement; rules of procedures for dispute settlement panels; a code of conduct for investor-state dispute settlement; and a process for the accession of new economies to the CPTPP.
The Commission’s second meeting convened from 7-9 October 2019, in Auckland, New Zealand, to monitor and advance implementation of the CPTPP’s obligations. The Commission issued a joint statement, and adopted decisions on its rules of procedure and on the establishment of a roster of individuals who may be selected to serve as panel chairs to address state-to-state disputes.
The role of trade deals has become the subject of heightened debate amid the economic effects of COVID-19, as governments consider how to support vulnerable sectors, ensure access to medicines and medical technologies for their populations, and address job losses. Prior to the pandemic, experts had begun questioning whether the CPTPP yielded the expected economic benefits for the seven ratifying countries.
In addition, the agreement’s rules on intellectual property (IP) and digital trade, among other issues, play into debate within some CPTPP signatory countries on whether to proceed with ratification, and for other countries regarding whether to request accession. [Joint Statement on the Occasion of the Third Commission Meeting] [CPTTP Backgrounder]