Thursday, 20 September, 2018

US Allies Sign Landmark Trade Pact As Trump Announces Tariffs

US steel tariffs impact on local farmers US Allies Sign Landmark Trade Pact As Trump Announces Tariffs
Jay Anderson | 10 March, 2018, 01:55

Eleven countries in the Pacific region have signed a major Asia-Pacific free trade agreement in Santiago, Chile. "They see it as an important statement in support of free trade given the actions they're seeing from the United States".

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo, in Chile for the signing of the TPP, says Australia has been making "every effort" to safeguard the nation's interests by pressing for an exemption to the mooted trade tariffs. With the United States, it would have represented 40 per cent. "However, we know these tariffs will be catastrophic for the USA economy and jobs", the United States Fashion Industry Association said in a statement following the tariff announcement Thursday.

Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan's minister in charge of the TPP, told a news conference he wants the United States to rejoin the pact in its current form without revamping it.

Mustapa said CPTPP will open up the door for more Malaysian companies to expand their presence beyond the borders of our country as well as strengthening Malaysia's position as a premier investment destination - which will eventually create additional quality jobs for the people.

Once implemented, the 11 countries hope to expand the framework to other countries, in particular the United States, whose return would mean the pact covers almost 40 percent of global economic output and add security significance to the deal to counter China's rising clout in the Asia-Pacific region.

The pact is also known as the TPP 11, since it evolved from the initial 12-member Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that fell apart after the United States withdrew from it in January 2017. This will be done through the substantial elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers for goods, improved access for service suppliers in a wide range of sectors, greater facilitation of investments, enhanced access to government procurement contracts, and modern rules to address emerging trade challenges.




At a press conference held after the signing ceremony, Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz affirmed that the parties in the CP TPP hoped the pact will bring economic growth to every nation. 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 US offers some respite to the supporters of free trade.

The revised deal, which eliminates some requirements from the original TPP, will go into effect two months after a majority of the signatories ratify the agreement.

"Most importantly, it will help stimulate and accelerate domestic reforms in many areas." said Sebastian Eckardt, the World Bank Lead Economist for Vietnam.

Yorizumi Watanabe, a professor of policy management at Keio University in Tokyo, said, "If the U.S.is retreating from this region, either as the pace setter or agenda setter of economic affairs or security affairs, this will be quite detrimental to the stability of this region".

Heft could come from others.

However, the revised agreement dropped about 20 of the original provisions (mostly those insisted on by the US), suggesting a U.S. re-entry would require some intense negotiation. Kazuyoshi Umemoto, Japan's chief negotiator for the partnership, said that if the United States made a decision to re-enter the deal, those provisions could be reinstated.

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