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 U.S. protectionism, even if the new deal will offer less benefits than originally hoped.
U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in January of past year, claiming that the executive order to scrap the deal would be a "great thing for the American worker".
A group of 11 nations - including major US allies such as Japan, Canada and Australia - signed a broad trade deal Thursday that challenges Trump's view of trade as a zero-sum game filled with winners and losers.
The signatories at the event included Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz (6th L) and delegates from other countries attend a signing ceremony in Santiago, Chile, on March 8, 2018. With the U.S., the countries in the deal would have represented 40% of the global economy.
Once the deal is implemented, they will look to expand the framework to include other economies, as some countries have shown interest in joining the treaty that provides "a platform that promotes high standards for broader economic integration in the future", their joint statement said.
The deal came as US President Donald Trump vowed earlier in the day to press ahead with a plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, a move that other nations and the International Monetary Fund said could start a global trade war.
The deal will not take effect 60 days after it is ratified by at least six member countries.
In short, the biggest winners are expected to be in Asia, while the wealthier countries, on balance, are not expected to receive as much of a boost. However, the ratio goes up to 37% and the partnership becomes the largest economic bloc in the world if the US takes part. Last but not least, amid palpable fears of a global trade war, the survival of a free trade agreement despite the sudden pullout of the USA offers some respite to the supporters of free trade.
"TPP could have saved USA footwear companies and consumers more than half-a-billion dollars a year".
Analysis by the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) finds that the CPTPP will generate real income gains of US$157 billion for member countries, compared with US$465 billion from the original TPP.
That's why some in the bloc are still keen to get the USA back in on the deal, but a senior Canadian official reportedly said this week that the US wouldn't receive any fast-track access or preferential treatment if it settles on squeezing back in.
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