Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement Signed

Eleven Asia-Pacific countries have just signed a new trade agreement designed to cut tariffs between the member nations. This deal replaces the former Trans-Pacific Partnership and has been named the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Last year the United States pulled out of the agreement after President Donald Trump asserted that the deal would be a hindrance to American business and workers.

Despite the absence of the blessing of the U.S., eleven countries went forward with the pact. The participating nations are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. In addition to slashing tariffs between participating members, the partnership also reduces non-tariff measures in order to make trade more transparent and equal. As part of the deal, the agreeing members have committed to a series of minimum labor and environmental standards.

Even in light of the U.S. pullout, the deal still covers a market of over 500 million citizens. The countries of Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam, and Malaysia are expected to be the big winners of the deal with an increase of approximately 2% to their respective economies by the year 2030. The countries of New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Chile, and Australia will benefit to a lesser extent, seeing an increase of about 1% to their economic bottom line. Some experts believe that the U.S. will lose approximately 0.5% of Gross Domestic Product as a result of its absence in the agreement.