WASHINGTON — U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and trade ministers from the 11 other countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade accord failed Tuesday to strike an anticipated final deal in the latest round of discussions, which will push the talks into next year.
The trade officials said, though, that they made progress on significant, outstanding issues as they wrapped up four days of talks in Singapore.
Froman, who briefed reporters on a call from Singapore, said the TPP ministers “really accomplished an enormous amount across various texts of the TPP agreement by working in a collaborative way to identify potential ‘landing zones’ on a great majority of the outstanding issues. I would describe the outcome of the meeting — great momentum. We’re now focused on building on that momentum.”
The U.S. is in talks with Vietnam, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru and Singapore on the TPP trade accord. All 12 ministers said in a joint statement on Tuesday that they will “continue to work with flexibility to finalize these text issues, as well as market access issues” and plan to meet again in January. Froman told reporters that all of the ministers “left feeling very positive about what was accomplished” in Singapore.
“They all recommitted themselves to the highest possible standards…and an ambitious and comprehensive agreement, and felt like the meeting contributed very significantly to that,” he said.
The failure on the part of the negotiators to draft even a framework trade deal underscored the complexities involved on sensitive issues, which include textiles and apparel. The U.S. has proposed a yarn-forward rule of origin that requires apparel be made of fabric and yarns supplied by the U.S. or other TPP partner countries to qualify for duty-free benefits when shipped back to the U.S. Importers oppose the rule, but American textile producers claim they need it to compete.
The U.S. has also proposed a short supply program that allows importers to use third-country fabric and yarns in apparel production if the U.S. determines they are not commercially available in the TPP member countries. Industry sources have said one of the sticking points in the negotiations is a deep division between some of the countries over the textile rule origin.
There is also concern on Capitol Hill over certain provisions that could be included once a final deal is struck. In addition, there appears to be some growing momentum in the House against granting President Obama trade promotion authority, a tool many experts argue he needs to help wrap up negotiations on the TPP pact.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast