Pacific Rim countries sign sweeping free trade agreement

US steel tariffs impact on local farmers

The agreement was on shaky ground past year when US President Donald Trump pulled his country from negotiations for what was then known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Out of 1,000 terms under initial deal, member countries suspended around 20 provisions, especially related to intellectual property protections lobbied by the U.S. But import tariffs will fall for all goods traded among members with more than 90% being eliminated immediately when ratified.

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 Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will reduce tariffs in countries that together amount to more than 13 per cent of the global economy - a total of $10 trillion in gross domestic product.

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

President Trump is going one way on trade.

Extraneous adjectives aside, its supporters say it's hugely significant, and could be a model for future trade deals.

More news: Tillerson departs for Africa for talks with Buhari, others

Meanwhile, Japanese Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Toshimitsu Motegi noted that despite formidable challenges, CP TPP is a historic achievement that creates principles on trade freedom and fairness in the 21st century in Asia-Pacific.

Compared with the TPP, lost trade opportunities would be felt most in Vietnam, Malaysia, and Japan, because these countries stood to gain the most from greater access to the U.S. market, given the scope of current trade agreements.

Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz (6th L) and delegates from other countries attend a signing ceremony in Santiago, Chile, on March 8, 2018. Interestingly, the CPTPP comes soon after the USA had made clear its plan to impose tariffs on the import of aluminium and steel in an attempt to protect domestic manufacturers. The pact was aimed at diminishing the increasing economic dominance of China in a rapidly growing part of the world.

"Without the United States, it doesn't serve that goal", said Edward Alden, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

"China did not participate in the CPTPP Agreement".

The head of State, who concludes her presidential period on Sunday, profited from the occasion to highlight the projection of her administration to promote the most free trade treaties, "because we believe in integration".

"Of course, we also hope that the various free trade arrangements in the Asia-Pacific region will be able to communicate and co-ordinate with each other and form a benign interaction, playing a constructive role in their respective fields in resisting trade protectionism and building an open world economy".

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