WASHINGTON Jan 17 The United States and
Thailand discussed Bangkok's interest in joining a free-trade
agreement in the Asia-Pacific region that negotiators hope to
wrap up this year, the U.S. Trade Representative's office said
"The United States provided an update on the status of the
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, and outlined the
goals and objectives we are seeking in this agreement," the
trade office said in a statement.
Thailand expressed interest in joining the nearly
three-year-old TPP talks during President Barack Obama's trip to
Asia shortly after he won re-election in November.
The negotiations bring together 11 countries, including
Mexico and Canada, which formally participated in the talks for
the first time in December.
The United States has not given a time frame for a decision
on Thailand's entry, which would have to be made jointly by all
current TPP members. Japan first expressed interest in 2011 in
joining the talks, but still has not joined.
This week's U.S.-Thai talks took place under the two
countries' bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement,
which provides a forum to discuss opportunities to expand trade
in goods, agriculture and services and to air bilateral trade
"The United States raised concerns related to Thai import
restrictions on pork products, proposed measures that would
require domestic processing of credit card transactions, and
regulations that would restrict foreign participation in the
Thai telecommunications sector," the trade office said.