Pacific Rim countries sign sweeping free trade agreement
10 March, 2018, 01:54 | Author: Marjorie Miles
The countries signing the agreement, which account for more than 13% of the world economy, have agreed to bring down tariffs on cross-border trade by as much as 98% after domestic ratification.
The CPTPP deal was signed just before Trump slapped steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, setting up what many allies both at home and overseas warn could escalate into a global trade war.
Representatives of members of Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal pose for a group photo after the signing agreement ceremony in Santiago, Chile on Thursday. "We are sending a mutual signal that we recognize that trade is good for economic growth, jobs and prosperity".
This is "a strong sign against the protectionist pressures, and in favor of a world open to free trade, without unilateral sanctions and the threat of trade wars", Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz said.
"It leaves the U.S.at a disadvantage from both a trade and a broader strategic perspective", said Joshua Meltzer, senior fellow in the global economy and development program at the Brookings Institution.
Although the fate of the TPP was uncertain for a while following Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the pact, the 11 remaining countries moved forward with a trimmed-down deal with Japan leading the push for revival. "The U.S.is really delivering the region to China at the moment", Mr. Wilson said.
According to the bureau, the agreement will become effective in 60 days, as long as at least six member nations have ratified it.
The pact, which will significantly cut import taxes on a variety of products and services traded among these countries, is being criticized by Australian unions and leftist parties Chile and New Zealand for infringing on their respective national sovereignty. The content of CP TPP was basically unchanged from the original TPP with 8,000 pages, except for the suspended implementation of 22 provisions mainly related to intellectual property. Governments and activists of other member nations worry the changes will raise the costs of medicine. The final version of the deal was released in New Zealand on February 21.
Another U.S. ally hoping for an exemption: Japan-which also signed the new trade agreement; along with Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Vietnam, Brunei, Chile and Peru.
"What the world needs now is more trade and investment flows and not restricted markets", he said in a statement today. However, New Zealand's trade minister said that was unlikely in the near term, while Japan has said altering the agreement now would be very hard.
Taiwan will continue to adjust its laws and regulations, assess the impact of CPTPP on the domestic economy, step up its lobbying efforts overseas and communication at home in an effort to push for its early entry into the deal, the bureau said.
It imposed a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum from all countries except Canada and Mexico.
He announced the plan for tariffs last week, rattling financial markets. Champagne told Reuters that Canada would not accept duties or quotas from the United States.
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