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Eleven Nations Set To Sign Pacific Trade Pact Without US

Eleven Nations Set To Sign Pacific Trade Pact Without US

Just before President Trump is set to sign orders on protective tariffs for steel and aluminum imports, 11 us allies signaled their commitment to free trade by signing the Trans Pacific-Partnership trade deal.

"The door is open for like-minded parties to join the CPTPP once it has entered into force", said Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in a statement.

Heraldo Munoz, Chile's minister of foreign affairs, said the agreement was a strong signal "against protectionist pressures, in favor of a world open to trade, without unilateral sanctions and without the threat of trade wars".

Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner for the Council of Canadians, a civic advocacy group critical of Canada's free trade agreements, said she finds it disturbing that the Trudeau government is going "head first into signing the Harper era CPTPP".

The CPTPP will reduce tariffs in countries that together amount to more than 13 per cent of the global economy - a total of US$10 trillion (S$13 trillion) in gross domestic product.

Meltzer said the United States' ability to shape the rules of trade in the Asia-Pacific region "is very much diminished".

The original 12-member Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal was thrown into limbo early past year when U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement to prioritize protecting American jobs.

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International Trade Minister Fran├žois-Philippe Champagne is leaving for South America on Thursday to put Canada's signature on a revised 11-country free trade deal that will create one of the largest trading blocks in the world, as well as for talks to join the Mercosur customs union.

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.

Some analysts believe these decisions have, however, helped persuade Trans-Pacific signatories Canada and Mexico to remain in the deal they are signing Thursday.

The Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will be signed soon in this capital, amid divided opinions.

In January, Trump, who also has threatened to pull the United States out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, told the World Economic Forum in Switzerland that it was possible Washington might return to the TPP pact if it got a better deal.

Last month, Trump told the World Economic Forum in Davos that the USA might return if it got a better deal.

The secrecy that shrouded the agreement during global talks also drew intense skepticism from both ends of the political spectrum, despite President Barack Obama's determined pitch for his signature trade initiative.