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CPTPP countries sign Pacific trade pact

10 March 2018

A survey by banking firm HSBC showed today that 63 per cent of firms in Malaysia believed they would positively benefit from the recently-signed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

A trade deal originally expected to enhance trade relations between numerous Pacific countries and the United States has been signed but without USA participation.

A group of 11 nations - including major USA allies such as Japan, Canada and Australia - signed a broad trade deal Thursday that challenges Trump's view of trade as a zero-sum game filled with winners and losers.

The pact that covers 500m people includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Korea will decide whether to join a fledgling Pacific trade pact within the year after looking into its impact on the national economy and consulting with member states, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Thursday.

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"The signing is a significant moment for open markets, free trade and the rules-based global system", Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo said in a statement Thursday.

"The TPP-11 creates Australia's first free trade agreements with Canada and Mexico, giving Australian exporters preferential access to two of the world's top 20 economies for the first time".

But the original Trans- Pacific Partnership, which included the United States, would have brought together 40 percent.

Australia's Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, says the deal has been set up to allow it to admit new members, possibly including the US. The deal could cut tariffs in those countries, led largely by Japan and Canada, by as much as $10 trillion. Fears of a global trade war were stoked after Trump announced plans to impose U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, prompting China to vow "an appropriate response'".

All 11 remaining members of the TPP excluding the U.S.is party to this document.

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The new arrangement will kick into effect when six members have enacted it domestically, and it has been created to make it easy for the United States or another country to join.

The deal will not take effect 60 days after it is ratified by at least six member countries.

The president has shunned more comprehensive trade agreements in favor of bilateral deals with other countries.

Footwear and apparel industry stakeholders had hoped to keep the U.S.in the 12-country trade agreement that was projected to save the shoe industry $6 billion in taxes over a 10-year period. "We're not being partisan or subjective; it's Trade Policy 101-and we can expect widespread net job loss in the United States as a result, according to early studies, not to mention regressive taxes on American consumers".

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CPTPP countries sign Pacific trade pact