CPTPP: Landmark Asia-Pacific trade agreement signed

Global Business

(L-R) Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang, New Zealand’s Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker, Malaysia’s Minister for Trade and Industry Datuk J. Jayasiri, Canada’s International Trade Minister Francois-Phillippe Champagne, Australia’s Trade Minister Steven Ciobo, Chile’s Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz, Brunei’s Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs Erywan Dato Pehin, Japan’s Minister of Economic Revitalization Toshimitsu Motegi, Mexico’s Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, Peru’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism Eduardo Ferreyros Kuppers and Vietnam’s Industry and Trade Minister Tran Tuan Anh pose for an official picture after signing the rebranded 11-nation Pacific trade pact Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in Santiago, on March 8, 2018. A slimmed-down trade pact signed on Thursday will allow eleven Asia-Pacific nations to push forward with economic integration in the face of greater US protectionism, even if the new deal will offer less benefits than originally hoped. ( AFP PHOTO / CLAUDIO REYES)

While in the north, trade barriers are going up, in South America on Thursday, 11 Pacific Rim countries committed to pulling them down, finally agreeing on a major free trade agreement.

CGTN’s Joel Richards reports.

“TPP 11 is a historic achievement which creates free and fair rules of the 21st century in the Asia Pacific region,” Japan’s Economy Minister, Toshimitsu Motegi,  during the presentation said. 

Members of the reworked Trans-Pacific Partnership, better known as TPP 11,  stress this is designed to be an inclusive treaty that will benefit its people, and not only large corporations.

The agreement signed in Santiago, Chile, brings together countries with a combined population of 500 million , representing around 14 percent of world trade. But the original Trans- Pacific Partnership, which included the United States, would have brought together 40 percent.

In January, 2017, on just his third day as president, Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement, raising questions about the future and relevance of TPP.

Yet the remaining members pushed forward. For countries like Chile, one aspect of  this deal is boosting agricultural exports.

 The winery Casas del Bosque focuses on quality over quantity. Their wines are regularly voted among the best in Chile. Their largest export markets are China and the United States, but TPP will open up new markets.

Yet with a relatively small population, winery officials said Chile needs to look beyond its borders. With this new deal, the country could serve as a bridge for Asian countries and larger Latin American markets.

“Chile is a very good platform to base operation here and from here take it to another other main markets like Brazil, Peru, Argentina, which are bigger markets in terms of consumers,” Cristian Blanco of Casas del Bosque said.

Some analysts said this agreement, beyond just the economy, must be viewed in its geopolitcal context.

“TPP  is far reaching, when we talk about commerce, investment, intellectual property and services,” Lorena Oyarzun at the University of Chile said. “It has a direct effect not only on the economy, but also on labor, on the environment and on health issues.”

Many have criticized this trade agreement. There are fears of too much power in the hands of corporations… leading to lost jobs and industry.

The revised deal, which eliminates some requirements from the original TPP,  will go into effect two months after a majority of the signatories ratify the agreement. 

Joe Minarik on new Asia-Pacific trade pact

Eleven Pacific Rim countries signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade pact. It replaces the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Joe Minarik is the Vice President and Director of Research, at the Committee for Economic Development. He discussed the deal and its significance with CGTN’s Mike Walter.