HONOLULU The United States welcomed on Sunday the interest of Canada and Mexico in joining talks to form a Transpacific Trade Partnership.
"We look forward to initiating consultations with them and with Congress and our domestic stakeholders and to discussing the TPP's high standards for liberalizing trade and specific issues of concern to the United States," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement.
"These will include stronger protection of intellectual property rights, additional specific opportunities for U.S. goods, services, and investment, and the elimination of various nontariff barriers.
"Along with Japan's similar announcement this week, the desire of these North American nations to consult with TPP partners demonstrates the broadening momentum and dynamism of this ambitious effort toward economic integration across the Pacific," Kirk said.
The proposed Transpacific Partnership pact now includes nine countries -- the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Chile and Peru. The TPP goal is to complete a detailed framework in 2012.