OTTAWA – Officials from the 12 countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership have made significant progress on the issue of establishing rules for labor rights protection at their ongoing meeting in the Canadian capital, a Japanese official said.
Under the TPP initiative, the 12 countries are planning to introduce rules for restricting imports of goods made by forced labor or child labor, which could contribute to creating better labor conditions in emerging economies and facilitating investment, the official said Monday.
The negotiating members are also expected to establish a framework to settle disputes related to labor rights protection among TPP member countries to avoid an increase in lawsuits, he said.
Touted as a “21st century” trade initiative, the TPP — encompassing around 40 percent of global gross domestic product and a third of all world trade — deals not only with traditional trade in goods and services but also with new areas such as labor and the environment.
“On the labor issue, we brought our negotiations to the stage where we no longer need to have a heated debate,” the official said.
But other contentious problems such as tariffs and intellectual property rights remain to be solved. Akira Amari, Japan’s minister in charge of the TPP, said Tuesday in Tokyo it will be difficult to resolve all remaining issues during the current negotiating session.
The 10-day meeting will wrap up Saturday.