Eleven nations - but not US - to sign Trans-Pacific trade deal

Thursday, 2018-03-08 22:37:15
 Font Size:     |        Print

Vietnam's Industry and Trade Minister Tran Tuan Anh and Japanese Minister of Economic Revitalization Toshimitsu Motegi attend a news conference on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Ministerial Meeting during APEC 2017 in Da Nang, Vietnam, November 11, 2017. (Photo:Reuters).
 Font Size:     |  

Eleven countries are expected to sign a landmark Asia-Pacific trade agreement in Santiago on March 8 as an antidote to the increasingly protectionist bent of the United States, which pulled out of the pact last year.

The signing ceremony comes the day after Europe and the International Monetary Fund urged US President Donald Trump to step back from the brink of a trade war focused on steel and aluminum imports.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will reduce tariffs in countries that together amount to more than 13 percent of the global economy - a total of $10 trillion. With the United States, it would have represented 40 percent.

Even without the United States, the deal will span a market of nearly 500 million people, making it one of the globe's three largest trade agreements, according to Chilean and Canadian trade statistics.

The original 12-member agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), was thrown into limbo early last year when Trump withdrew from the deal just three days after his inauguration in a bid to protect US jobs.

The 11 remaining nations finalized a revised trade pact in January. It will enter force when at least six member nations have completed domestic procedures to ratify the agreement.

The revised TPP agreement, to be signed at 3 p.m. (1800 GMT) on March 8, eliminates some requirements of the original TPP demanded by US negotiators.

The final version of the agreement was released in New Zealand on February 21. The member countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.