Without US, 11 Asia-Pacific states to sign trade deal

Without US, 11 Asia-Pacific states to sign trade deal

"We have been working, motivated by hopes that the United States would return to the trade pact soon", the country's chief negotiator on the deal, Kazuyoshi Umemoto, told Reuters in response to Trump's comments. The new version, which goes by CPTPP or TPP-11 for short, also suspends some two dozen provisions that the US had fought for but that the other countries had been reluctant to include.

They also welcomed the interest shown by a number of other economies wishing to join the trade bloc, which accounts for 13.5 per cent of the world's gross domestic product.

"We will be giving a very powerful signal", he said at a news conference after giving the joint statement' Likewise, Mr Lim said: "The signing of the CPTPP is a concrete demonstration of the signatories' commitment to the collective goals of greater trade liberalisation, regional economic integration, and better opportunities for our people".

"The signing is a significant moment for open markets, free trade and the rules-based global system", Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo said in a statement heralding Thursday's signing.

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 ISDS provisions have also been suspended from the revised deal. "And there are threats to those global trading regimes". Critics in countries ranging from Canada and Chile to New Zealand and Australia have met Thursday's signing with vocal opposition.

The final version of the agreement was released in New Zealand on February 21.

Last month, Trump told the World Economic Forum in Davos that the United States might return if it got a better deal. "We welcome it becoming positive toward the TPP".

The European Union said this week that it is ready to retaliate against Trump's tariffs - of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports - with counter-measures against iconic USA products like Harley Davidson motorcycles, Levi's jeans and bourbon.

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo will join his counterparts from 10 Pacific countries for the signing ceremony in Chile on Thursday.

As well, Trump has threatened to kill the North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations that are underway with Canada and Mexico.

The organisers of the protest told media that the TPP "is an worldwide economic agreement that, despite criticism from the public for the lack of information and public debate, will be signed this Thursday".

Former president Barack Obama's administration pushed for the TPP as a counterweight to growing Chinese commercial power.

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