Trans-Pacific Partnership Signed without US

The EU Strikes Back       Some 2.8 billion euros of U.S. goods are targeted in retaliatory tariff              Source European Commission

Eleven countries have signed a landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal on Thursday without the United States, who pulled out of the agreement previous year. Its main goal is to slash trade tariffs between member countries.

The United States refused to participate in the agreement.

The move came hours before United States president Donald Trump announced plans to impose new tariffs on aluminium and steel imports to protect producers.

Chile's top trade negotiator, Felipe Lopeandia, said that the group's moving forward after Trump's retreat will "send a political signal to the world and to the United States itself, that this is a global agreement".

The US, originally the biggest TPP economy, was one of the trade deal's strongest supporters before Mr Trump took office.

"It will be to the benefit of all the partners", Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said of the deal at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.

Echoing MOFA's view, the Bureau of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in a press release that it is happy to see the development.

But Japan, a key driver behind the revised pact, is skeptical.

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First, that numerous more advanced IP provisions were "included at the insistence of USA negotiators and were quite unpopular in the original agreement".

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. "We're not being partisan or subjective; it's Trade Policy 101-and we can expect widespread net job loss in the United States as a result, according to early studies, not to mention regressive taxes on American consumers".

Mathieson said the other countries in the agreement either do not have tariffs on kiwifruit, have existing free trade agreements with New Zealand or do not now import New Zealand kiwifruit.

"This is the world's largest ever regional trade agreement, creating huge opportunities for our beef, sheep, dairy, sugar, wool, wine and horticulture producers in current and new markets", Littleproud explained.

Australian sugar would also have better access to Japan, Canada and Mexico's markets.

He said the agreement will help the nation further promote its trade and investment agenda and mitigate the challenges of the global economic environment.

The 11 states represent a market of 500 million people, greater than that of the European Union's single market.

As it is an open and inclusive Agreement, the door is open for like-minded parties to join the CPTPP once it has entered into force.

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