29 March 2018
TPP Countries Sign New Agreement
The Trans-Pacific Partnership group of countries (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam) recently signed in Santiago, Chile, a new Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) that incorporates by reference the obligations (rules and market access outcomes) contained in the original TPP agreement except for a list of 22 original provisions whose application the parties have agreed to suspend upon entry into force of the agreement. These suspensions are mainly related to intellectual property protections, including in the areas of patents and copyrights as well as data and market protection obligations for new medicines, but also affect the investment, government procurement, financial services, environment and telecommunications chapters as well as certain provisions related to postal monopolies and customs duties on express shipments.
Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs Miguel Muñoz declared at the signing ceremony that through this agreement the signatories “oppose protectionism because we believe that trade opening is beneficial and generates greater economic growth and employment, reduces poverty and increases wellbeing for everyone.” According to information from Chile’s General Directorate for International Economic Relations (DIRECON), the 11 countries that form part of the new agreement represent a market of 498 million people with average per capita income of US$28,090, and account for 13 percent of the global economy. DIRECON adds that the CPTPP will be the third largest trade agreement in the world after the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and NAFTA.
The CPTPP will enter into force 60 days after the date on which at least six of the 11 signatories to the agreement have notified the depository in writing of the completion of their applicable ratification procedures. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has said it is studying the potential impact of the CPTPP on U.S. workers and U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific region.