Pa­cific rim trade pact goes ahead af­ter Aus­tralia rat­i­fies

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

THE 11 na­tions re­main­ing af­ter the US with­drawal in early 2017 amended the pact to en­able it to take ef­fect even with­out its par­tic­i­pa­tion. Ja­pan, Canada, Mex­ico and Sin­ga­pore also have rat­i­fied it.

“The sig­nal that it sends to the rest of the world that there’s a new rules­based or­der out there in the world that peo­ple can buy into if they want as an in­cred­i­bly pow­er­ful sig­nal at this par­tic­u­lar time,” David Parker, New Zealand’s min­is­ter of Trade and Ex­port Growth, told re­porters.

“It has ben­e­fits that will spread through­out the econ­omy to ev­ery per­son in New Zealand from the fac­tory floor to the farm owner, to all of the other ser­vice in­dus­tries that rely upon our ex­port in­dus­tries,” he said.

The U.S. de­par­ture was a huge loss given the size of the Amer­i­can mar­ket. How­ever other coun­tries are said to be in­ter­ested in join­ing the trade deal, which is seen as a first step to­ward a pan-Pa­cific free trade zone.

Trump said he was putting “Amer­ica first” in seek­ing bi­lat­eral deals rather than broader ones like the TransPa­cific Part­ner­ship. But US Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin said ear­lier this year that the US would con­sider re­join­ing the pact af­ter it deals with other pri­or­i­ties.

Other TPP mem­ber coun­tries have said they hope the US will re­join, while em­pha­siz­ing their com­mit­ment to the global trad­ing sys­tem that has en­abled many of them to build thriv­ing modern economies.

Nearly two-dozen stip­u­la­tions sought by the US in the orig­i­nal TPP deal re­port­edly were shelved af­ter Wash­ing­ton with­drew, wa­ter­ing down some­what the plan pro­claimed by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of be­ing the “gold stan­dard” for 21st cen­tury trade rules.

Birm­ing­ham, the Aus­tralian trade min­is­ter, said the deal would help farm­ers gain bet­ter ac­cess to Canada’s mar­ket for grains, su­gar and beef, and to Mex­ico’s mar­ket for pork, wheat, su­gar and other farm prod­ucts.

It will also help iron and steel, leather, pa­per prod­ucts and med­i­cal equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers who ex­port $19 bil­lion an­nu­ally to other mar­kets within the trade pact, he said.

For New Zealand, the trade ar­range­ment will bring duty-free ac­cess for its ex­porters of wine, meats, wool, tim­ber and fish­eries prod­ucts, the govern­ment said in a state­ment.

The coun­tries that have not yet rat­i­fied the agree­ment are Viet­nam, Malaysia, Brunei, Peru and Chile.

Sep­a­rate ef­forts are un­der­way to forge a free trade ar­range­ment within Asia called the Re­gional Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship, which en­com­passes the 10 mem­bers of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions, or ASEAN, as well as Ja­pan, South Korea, Aus­tralia, New Zealand, In­dia and China, but not the US.

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