Pacific Trade Pact Faces Political Scrutiny After Signing

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The ministers of the Asia-Pacific countries said in the Chilean capital Santiago they will aim to put the pact, renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, into force earlier than their initial target of early 2019.

A trade deal originally expected to enhance trade relations between numerous Pacific countries and the United States has been signed but without USA participation.

Eleven countries including Japan and Canada signed a landmark Asia-Pacific trade agreement without the United States on Thursday in what one minister called a powerful signal against protectionism and trade wars.

The other nine countries are Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

MLA general manager - global markets, Michael Finucan said the CPTPP agreement will eliminate Mexico's 10 percent sheep meat and goat meat tariffs within eight years.

He announced the plan for tariffs last week, rattling financial markets.

The revised pact keeps most of the provisions, including tariff reductions, agreed in 2016 when USA was still a member.

"This tariff relief will means savings for our growers and benefits for Japanese consumers by supporting our competitiveness against other fruit in market".

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No longer up in the air, a new Trans-Pacific Partnership has been signed and the United States isn't included.

"Despite the diverse and hard challenges, the CPTPP is a historic achievement that creates free and fair 21st century rules in the Asia-Pacific region", Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said at a news conference after the signing of the deal.

"Last year Australia exported around $12b worth of agricultural goods to the TPP-11 countries, so this is a real game changer with huge potential".

"For the first time, New Zealand will gain preferential access to Japan, the world's third-largest economy", he said. According to Chapman, the deal could add between $1.2 billion and $4 billion to the economy.

In addition to market access, Malaysia will also benefit in terms of enhancing governance in a number of economic sectors, strengthening economic cooperation among member countries and promoting adoption of global standards.

The pact, which will significantly cut import taxes on a variety of products and services traded among these countries, is being criticized by Australian unions and leftist parties Chile and New Zealand for infringing on their respective national sovereignty.

The other two Latin American countries, Mexico and Peru, will also improve their access to countries on the other side of the Pacific, such as Vietnam and Malaysia.

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