Major Trans-Pacific trade deal signed in Chile

Thursday, 2018-03-08 23:31:52
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Representatives from 11 member countries gather in Santiago, Chile, Thursday afternoon (local time) to sign the CPTPP trade pact. (Photo: Reuters)
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NDO – The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade deal was officially signed by 11 countries in the Chilean capital of Santiago, early on March 9 (Vietnam time).

Representatives from 11 member countries, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam, signed the pact at a ceremony co-hosted by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz.

The landmark Trans-Pacific trade agreement covers 30 chapters, and deals not only with traditional areas of international trade, such as goods, services, and investment, but also with newer issues, including e-commerce and State-owned enterprises.

When it comes into force 60 days after being fully ratified by six of the 11 members, the pact will create the largest free-trade zone in the world, with a market encompassing nearly 500 million people and representing about 13.5% of the global gross domestic product.

Chilean President Bachelet emphasised that CPTPP members would still welcome the US if it wished join the pact again, but Washington would have to accept the terms of the revised agreement. New Zealand’s Trade Minister David Parker said that the prospect of the US joining in the next couple of years was “very unlikely” and even if Washington expressed a willingness to join CPTPP, there was no guarantee that the members would lift all of their suspensions. In the case of the US joining the CPTPP, the concerned parties would have to grant concessions and be flexible in negotiations.

Earlier on March 8, the Republic of Korea (ROK)’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced that it would decide on whether to join the CPTPP this year after considering its impact on the national economy and consulting with member states. The ROK has reached bilateral trade agreements with nine of the 11 member states of the CPTPP. Even if the CPTPP is effective, it would have a very limited impact on the Korean economy.