Thursday, 21 June, 2018

Pacific countries sign landmark deal without US

European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström | Aris Oikonomou  AFP via Getty Images European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström | Aris Oikonomou AFP via Getty Images
| 10 March, 2018, 02:04

The government has already begun taking steps to amend laws to pave way for implementation of Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) "as early as possible", International Trade Minister Mustapa Mohamed said in a statement.

The signing ceremony occurred in Santiago the same day that the Trump administration announced tariffs on imported aluminum and steel and came more than a year after the United States withdrew from the T.P.P.

U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in January of past year, claiming that the executive order to scrap the deal would be a "great thing for the American worker".

The revised agreement eliminates some requirements of the original TPP demanded by USA negotiators, including rules to ramp up intellectual property protection of pharmaceuticals.

A laconic summary given before time of the final result of negotiations for the Progressive and Global Transpacific Accord (CPTPP, English acronym), was signed in Santiago de Chile. The TPP-11 countries include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, creating a regional free trade area that links the Americas and Asia.

Other members include Mexico, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore and Brunei. The deal covers a market of almost 500 million people, despite the USA pullout. It will undeniably be weaker without the participation of the world's biggest economy, but the resuscitated deal serves as a powerful sign of how countries that have previously counted on US leadership are now forging ahead without it. "It is now a trade bloc that discriminates against the U.S".


Chilean foreign minister Heraldo Munoz said the agreement was a strong signal "against protectionist pressures, in favor of a world open to trade".

The EU threat and Trump's impending announcement on the tariffs were expected to escalate the risk of a trade war, in which nations try to punish each other by hiking taxes on traded goods.

The EU considers itself to be caught in the crossfire of a trade dispute, in which Trump has mainly singled out China for being unfair in its commercial deals.

The ministry said the successful signing was thanks to the remaining member states' decision in November last year to withhold the ratification of parts of the clauses in TPP after the US' withdrawal in January last year.

L. Alan Winters, a professor of economics at the University of Sussex and the director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory, told Sputnik that member countries of the bloc would rather import from other members than from the United States, which would have its exports subjected to trade barriers. "It will be successful in opening more markets to free trade in agricultural products and digital services around the region", Khorana said.

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