By  on June 19, 2012

WASHINGTON — President Obama said Monday that the U.S. and eight other countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement have formally invited Mexico to join the negotiations.

In addition to the U.S., the eight other TPP partners are Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

“Mexico’s interest in the TPP reflects its recognition that [it] presents the most promising pathway to boosting trade across the Asia-Pacific [region] and to encouraging regional trade integration,” said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, noting that Mexico is the second-largest export market for the U.S.

Mexico, a long-established trading partner with the U.S. under the North American Free Trade Agreement, was ranked the fourth-largest apparel and textile importer to the U.S. in the latest April international trade report from the Commerce Department. Textile and apparel imports from Mexico fell 7.7 percent in April to 201 million square meter equivalents.

Mexico’s entry into the negotiations hinges on the “successful conclusion of its domestic procedures,” the USTR office noted. USTR must also notify Congress, which will trigger a 90-day consultation period on U.S. negotiating objectives relating to Mexico. Canada and Japan have also asked to join the TPP talks.

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