Washington: The leaders of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries, including the US, have agreed upon an agreement to liberalise trade and investment among the bloc's members.
    
The 9-member bloc said in a statement that they are "confident that this agreement would be a model...for other free trade agreements in the future, forging close linkages among our economies, enhancing our competitiveness, benefiting our consumers and supporting the creation and retention of jobs, higher living standards and the reduction of poverty in our countries".
    
Committed to conclude this landmark agreement as rapidly as possible, the leaders said on Saturday that they have instructed their negotiating teams to meet in early December to continue their work.
    
The agreement is being negotiated as a single undertaking that covers all key trade and trade-related areas.     

"We are delighted to have achieved this milestone in our common vision to establish a comprehensive, next-generation regional agreement that liberalises trade and investment and addresses new and traditional trade issues and 21st-century challenges," the statement issued by the leaders of these countries said.
    
It said the members share a strong interest in expanding their current partnership of nine geographically and developmentally diverse countries to others across the region.
    
"The TPP will boost our economies, lowering barriers to trade and investment, increasing exports and creating more jobs for our people, which is my number-one priority," US President Barack Obama told a meeting of APEC CEOs in Honolulu.
    
It would also help achieve the goal of doubling US exports, which support millions of American jobs, Obama said.
    
Later talking to reporters, the Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs, Mike Froman, said the leaders also discussed how to address the expressions of interest by additional countries in TPP, including Japan, among others.
    
"I think there was broad agreement in the room that the leaders see the TPP as an open platform that they hope to expand and have other countries join, provided that we can maintain that high-standard agreement and the high level of ambition.
   
"They look forward to initiating consultations with Japan and other countries of interest to determine whether or not those countries could engage in what's expected of a TPP country," Froman said.

Agencies