Signing of CPTPP signals commitment towards open, liberal trade

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Representatives of members of Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal pose for a group photo after the signing agreement ceremony in Santiago, Chile on Thursday. "However, China has always been a staunch supporter of trade liberalization and an important participant in Asia-Pacific regional cooperation and economic integration", China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, commented Thursday on the deal at a news conference.

Pacific nations will be "drinking more Australian wine, eating more Australian beef and using more Australian services" thanks to a new trade agreement with 10 other countries in the region, according to the trade minister Steve Ciobo.

Even without the United States, the deal will span a market of almost 500 million people, making it one of the world's largest trade agreements, according to Chilean and Canadian trade statistics.

"We expect CPTPP to make a meaningful contribution to progressive and inclusive trade in the future".

"Without the United States, it doesn't serve that goal", said Edward Alden, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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The 11 TPP members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Yesterday, 11 remaining members of the former TPP signed a revised free trade agreement (FTA) without the US.

Taiwan will continue to adjust its laws and regulations, assess the impact of CPTPP on the domestic economy, step up its lobbying efforts overseas and communication at home in an effort to push for its early entry into the deal, the bureau said.

"Most importantly, this agreement is the first of its kind to specifically address wine-related technical barriers to trade through the inclusion of a wine and spirit annex".

He called the agreement a strong signal "against protectionist pressures, in favor of a world open to trade, without unilateral sanctions and without the threat of trade wars". "It is now a trade bloc that discriminates against the U.S".

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"It's great to see growing global acknowledgement and understanding that we need trade that works for everyone", Mr Parker says.

The TPP 11 has eased conditions to put the deal into force.

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". "This should be seen from a kind of geopolitical point of view". In the meantime, CPTPP members have expressed interest in having new members join the bloc, and the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea and Sri Lanka are reportedly on the target list.

Under the CPTPP, the application of 22 provisions in the original pact, such as on intellectual property that was included at the persistent request of the United States, will be suspended until such time as Washington returns to the deal. 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. "Countries will return to a path toward globalization and this sends a beacon of hope".

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