The ongoing negotiations for the enlargement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) were launched in March 2010. At the time of writing (early January 2012) nine countries from both rims of the Pacific Basin participate in this process. Among them are two Latin American countries: Chile, an original signatory of the P4 in 2005, and Peru. Two other countries from the region, Colombia and Mexico, have at different times expressed interest in joining the negotiations.
The TPP is currently the United States’ main initiative in the area of trade negotiations. According to US authorities, the expanded and updated TPP would be a “next-generation, twenty-first century” agreement which could, through its gradual expansion, become a platform for the construction of a trans-Pacific free trade space. It would thus provide a counterbalance to the centripetal tendencies observed today in East and Southeast Asia. These are reflected, among other ways, in initiatives centred on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), such as the so-called ASEAN+3 and ASEAN+6 projects, and in the renewed support provided by the leaders of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (henceforth Korea) to the launch of negotiations for a trilateral preferential trade agreement (PTA). In short, the TPP project aims both at setting the rules for trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific over the coming decades and at consolidating the United States’ presence in the world’s most economically dynamic region. It is therefore a strategic project in both economic and political terms.