11 nations sign overhauled Trans Pacific trade deal

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The eleven nations that remained after the U.S. pulled out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal have signed a revamped trade pact.

Representatives from Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore gave their signatures to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) accord in Santiago de Chile.

“It is a strong signal against protectionist pressures,’’ Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz said.

U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order a few days after his inauguration in January 2017 to withdraw the U.S. from the TPP. Trump has declared that it is not in the best interests of American workers.

The TPP had been a linchpin in U.S. Asia policy under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.

The 11 nations of the new CPTPP produce 13.5 per cent of the world’s economic output, some 10 trillion dollars combined. About 480 million people live in the trading area.

Report says Japan, the world’s third-largest economic power, is the heavyweight in the group. The CPTPP aimed to improve market access for companies, with numerous duties dismantled or lowered.

Over the long term, the economies of the member states are to become more strongly integrated, with value-added chains evolving across the countries’ borders.

“It will be to the benefit of all the partners. The agreement must now be ratified by member governments before it takes effect.’ Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said of the deal at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.

Suzan O.