New TPP trade agreement faces protests in Chile

Francois-Philippe Champagne

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

The deal, which is now formally known as The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), doesn't pack quite the same punch without the support of the US, but it will still be one of the world's three largest trade agreements.

They also welcomed the interest shown by a number of other economies wishing to join the trade bloc, which accounts for 13.5 per cent of the world's gross domestic product.

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo will join his counterparts from 10 Pacific countries for the signing ceremony in Chile on Thursday.

The suspension of 22 provisions makes this a substantially different deal from the old TPP.

"And there are threats to those worldwide trading regimes".

Horticulture NZ says the reduction of tariffs is one of the "big wins" for the industry, with the country gaining preferential access to Japan, the world's third-largest economy.

The U.S. wasn't the only signatory to have its fair share of skeptics.

Australia's beef exports to Japan have increased by a cumulative $1 billion since its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) came into force, which has resulted in New Zealand losing out on approximately $53 million worth of beef exports to Japan over the same period.

"The signing of the Agreement enables us to move to the next phase".

Trump, who abandoned TPP because he felt his administration could negotiate better deals one on one, told CNBC earlier this year that he would be open to returning to the agreement if it were "substantially better".

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 value of the TPP 11 is reinforced by the USA tariff decision".

Coming in the same week that Trump risked a trade war over his decision to introduce tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, the deal is seen by some members as striking a blow against protectionism.

"Horticulture is growing and the world wants access to our fruit and vegetables so the signing of this trade deal is timely", chief executive Mike Chapman said.

The TPP was a key policy of the former Obama administration's so-called foreign policy pivot to Asia.

The organisers of the protest told media that the TPP "is an worldwide economic agreement that, despite criticism from the public for the lack of information and public debate, will be signed this Thursday".

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