Without US, 11 states ink CPTPP

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The CPTPP will reduce trade tariffs for member countries that together account for more than 13 percent of the global economy and covers 500 million people.

The 11 remaining nations finalised a revised trade pact in January.

"The CPTPP will impact on current market access for U.S. firms in the countries markets that are now CPTPP members".

The original TPP trade deal was never ratified by the United States because of congressional opposition, but was strongly backed by ex-President Barack Obama's administration. On Thursday, 11 Asia-Pacific countries, including Japan, Australia and Canada, signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership in Chile.

Mr Trump is expected to sign a presidential proclamation setting up 25 per cent tariff on steel and 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imports at 7.30am Friday (AEDT), with the measures taking effect two weeks later.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet declared that the signing of the CP TPP is a commitment of global integration and a strong signal against protectionism pressure. This will leave the world, which has largely been moving towards increasing free trade even as the US has turned inwards, better off than without the deal.

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Incentives such as e-trade (electronic commerce), intellectual and industrial property, the Internet of things, fight against corruption and the preservation of cultural and labor patterns excel in the agreement.

Singapore, for example, will now gain preferential market access to Canada and Mexico, with which it has no free trade agreement. Last but not least, amid palpable fears of a global trade war, the survival of a free trade agreement despite the sudden pullout of the USA offers some respite to the supporters of free trade. It opens more markets to free trade in agricultural products and digital services around the region. That agreement will become effective when at least six member nations have completed domestic procedures to ratify it, possibly before the end of the year.

It also includes a controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism, which allows companies to sue governments when they believe a change in law has affected their profits.

New Zealand's Minister for Trade and Export Growth, David Parker, added: "It's great to see growing worldwide acknowledgement and understanding that we need trade that works for everyone". The agreement will eliminate more than 98 percent of tariffs in the free trade area.

"As one of the pioneer members who has successfully negotiated the agreement 'on our terms, ' Malaysia should not miss the opportunity to grab the benefits of this agreement and efforts to complete the ratification process should be intensified", he said in a statement.