11 nations move forward with TPP-like trade deal without U.S.

By Sara Shayanian  |  March 9, 2018 at 9:53 AM
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March 9 (UPI) -- The United States was left out of a new version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership signed by 11 countries in Santiago, Chile.

U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in January of last year, claiming that the executive order to scrap the deal would be a "great thing for the American worker."

Now, a revised free-trade deal, called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP, is excluding the United States. The agreement aims to reduce import taxes and put in place rules for member nations.

The countries who signed the deal -- including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam -- represent 500 million people, and more than 13 percent of the world economy.

With the United States, the agreement would have covered 40 percent of the world economy.

Chile's Foreign Affairs Minister Heraldo Muñoz said the signing of the pact is "extremely timely" in the face of "protectionist pressures and pressures that could end up in what nobody wants, which is a trade war."

The new trade agreement came as Trump signed an order imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports on most countries -- a move that could potentially trigger a trade war.

The CPTPP shows that the 11 nations are "committed to free and open markets," Barbara Weisel, the former chief U.S. negotiator for TPP, said to Politico. "They see it as an important statement in support of free trade given the actions they're seeing from the United States."

The Peterson Institute for International Economics found that Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Vietnam will each receive a bump of more than 2 percent to their economy by 2030, while New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Australia will all grow by an additional 1 percent or less.

Meanwhile, the United States could lose $2 billion because firms in member countries have an incentive to trade with each other instead of with American companies.

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