Today a new model of data transfer between CAD/CAM systems and CNC machines, called STEP-NC, is being developed by the ISO technical Committees. It overcomes the shortcomings of ISO 6983 by specifying machining processes rather than machine motion, using the object-oriented concept of working step. Although the STEP-NC contains abundant geometry information of part and associated process parameters, the tool path is general not included in the STEP-NC program. So before the beginning of the STEP-NC-compliant CNC machining, the tool path should be firstly designed. By analyzing the characteristic of STEP-NC data model for milling, a working step-oriented tool path planning method for milling was proposed in this paper, and the distributed artificial intelligence methods, namely collaborative multi-agent was employed to accomplish tool path planning. Firstly a multi-agent architecture was constructed to allow multiple agents to work cooperatively to realize automation of tool path planning, and then, the function of every kind of agent and the communication between the agents were all described in detail. At last, one test component was designed and simulated to demonstrate the capabilities of this research in the paper.