nsucurrent.com March 17, 2018

'A fair deal for NZ': CPTPP signed by Trade Minister David Parker

10 March 2018, 01:37 | Colleen Roy

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Malaysia will be the biggest beneficiary of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), said Moody's Investors Service, Inc.

Known as TPP-11, the newly created trade bloc does not include the United States, but links selected American, Asian and Pacific nations.

But after overcoming differences, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and New Zealand finalised the details of the agreement in Tokyo on Tuesday, paving the way for the official signing today.

This is "a strong sign against the protectionist pressures, and in favour of a world open to free trade, without unilateral sanctions and the threat of trade wars", Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz said. "However, we know these tariffs will be catastrophic for the USA economy and jobs", the United States Fashion Industry Association said in a statement following the tariff announcement Thursday.

It pointed to analysis from the Peterson Institute for International Economics that showed Malaysia nudging Vietnam from the top spot in the CPTPP, which replaced the previous Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership after the United States pulled out.

"CPTPP ministers shared the view that, by achieving a high-standard and well-balanced outcome, the agreement will strengthen the mutually-beneficial linkages among participating economies; boost trade, investment and economic growth in the Asia-Pacific Region; and create new opportunities for businesses, consumers and workers", said Mustapa.

China would have little choice but to play by the rules of such a colossus, which should be led by the United States.

The CPTPP deal was signed just before Trump slapped steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, setting up what many allies both at home and overseas warn could escalate into a global trade war.

Mr Littleproud said tariff reductions and new access for Australian grain into Japan, including new access for rice products for the first time in 20 years, were a significant feature of the agreement.

The pact will go into effect 60 days after at least six countries complete domestic approval procedures.

After the USA withdrawal, Japan and Canada took the lead in pushing for the deal to continue, with the revised trade pact being finalized in January. Last year, South Korea's trade deficit with Japan amounted to US$28.3 billion.

The U.S. wasn't the only country that had reservations about previous versions of the deal.

Meanwhile, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) have instructed all relevant agencies to make arrangements to seek Taiwan's entry into the CPTPP, the ministry said.

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