"At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) in November 2011, the leaders of the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam announced the broad outlines of a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, which the parties hope to complete in 2012. If enacted the TPP would eliminate 11,000 tariff lines among the parties and, with 26 chapters under negotiation, potentially it could serve as a template for future trade pact among the APEC states. At the same venue the leaders of Japan, Canada, and Mexico announced that they would seek consultations with partner countries with a view towards joining the negotiations. Nine rounds of negotiations have occurred since the beginning of 2010. Other architectures, such as the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and the East Asia Summit (EAS) have both economic and strategic aspects. They can be grouped into two categories: (1) groupings that are Asia-centric in approach or origins and exclude the United States and (2) those that are trans-Pacific in nature and that include, or would include, the United States and other Western Hemispheric nations. The TPP is one vehicle that could be used to shape the U.S. agenda with the region. The United States, by signaling its intention to join the EAS and by working to elevate its relationship with ASEAN to a more strategic level, appears to be shaping regional architectures in a way that will be more inclusive and trans-Pacific in nature."
CRS Report for Congress, R40502
U.S. Department of State: http://www.state.gov/