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Singapore Hosts 6th Trans-Pacific Partnership Commission Meeting

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Singapore hosted Ministers and Senior Officials from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, and Vietnam during the Sixth Meeting of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Commission.

Gan Kim Yong, Minister of Trade and Industry, presided over the first in-person Commission Meeting after the COVID-19 epidemic, ” “I am pleased that we have collectively achieved the objectives we had set for Singapore’s CPTPP Chairmanship. We have advanced the implementation of the CPTPP and explored further cooperation in areas such as the digital economy and green economy.”

In addition, he applauded Malaysia’s ratification of the CPTPP, which will increase the Agreement’s benefits for all parties. According to him, these outcomes will ensure that the CPTPP remains an ambitious agreement that offers substantial advantages to businesses and people, and this is crucial for achieving a robust, resilient, inclusive, and sustainable economic recovery for all.

A set of non-binding Guidelines for Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) for Professional Services was also adopted at the Commission Meeting. It is anticipated that these standards will promote the transparency and uniformity of MRAs negotiated by CPTPP members and contribute to a more business-friendly environment for trade in professional services.

New and developing areas of cooperation in the digital economy and green economy were also highlighted. These areas present potential for members to collaborate more closely to increase trade and investment. Furthermore, the Commission Meeting launched an evaluation of the CPTPP’s impact. CPTPP members’ researchers had done several analytical studies on the Agreement’s impact.

The key findings show encouraging indicators of increased economic cooperation and improved trade and investment flows among the Parties. These findings will help Members decide what steps to take next in the review.

Also agreed to continue efforts to address subsequent accession applications in accordance with the CPTPP Accession Process and notify aspirant economies on whether they can satisfy the CPTPP’s high requirements, considering their trade obligations.

These results, obtained under Singapore’s Chairmanship of the CPTPP Commission this year, demonstrate the importance of expanding economic linkages and engaging in critical trade issues affecting the region.

Furthermore, Minister Gan stated that they commissioned research organisations headquartered in the CPTPP region to perform analytical studies to examine the impact of the Agreement on regional trade and investment flows.

The initial study reveals a substantial rebound in intra-CPTPP trade in goods in 2021, a robust expansion in intra-CPTPP trade in digital services, and an increase in investment flows. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), women’s employment, and indigenous communities also benefited from expansion, and cross-border R&D activity among CPTPP parties was robust and integrated. Minister Gan emphasised that new and developing areas of cooperation in the digital economy and the green economy will continue to be explored.

On the topic of the digital economy, they discussed digital trade facilitation, emerging technologies, and data, as well as cooperation on digitalisation and data-driven solutions. For the green economy, they will help the potential development of initiatives that promote trade and investment in environmental goods and services, as well as innovations.

On the other hand, aspirant economies are expressing a rising interest in joining the CPTPP, according to member states. In support of the open architecture of the Agreement, they will consider the continuing accession process with the United Kingdom and continue to share their perspectives on the CPTPP’s expansion.

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