South America

Australia among 11 countries to sign TPP without US

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Australia is among 11 nations who have signed up to a new trade pact described by Chile's prime minister as "a strong signal against protectionist pressures".

Australia and the other 10 nations that remained after the US pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal have signed a revamped trade pact.

Representatives from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore gave their signatures to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) accord in Santiago on Thursday.

"It is a strong signal against protectionist pressures," Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz said, according to local news outlet Emol.

Australia's Trade Minister, Steve Ciobo says that the agreement will be good for jobs.

"This TPP-11 agreement is an important agreement. It's opening up $13.7 trillion of economic activity to Australian businesses to be able to export their goods [and] their services, to drive investment into these markets," he told Sky News.

US President Donald Trump issued an executive order a few days after his inauguration in January 2017 to withdraw the US from the TPP, declaring it was not in the best interests of American workers.

The TPP had been a linchpin in US Asia policy under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama.

The 11 nations of the new CPTPP produce 13.5 per cent of the world's economic output - some 10 trillion dollars - combined.

About 480 million people live in the trading area. Japan, the world's third-largest economic power, is the heavyweight in the group.

The CPTPP aims to improve market access for companies, with numerous duties dismantled or lowered.

Over the long term, the economies of the member states are to become more strongly integrated, with value-added chains evolving across the countries' borders.

"It will be to the benefit of all the partners," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said of the deal at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.

The agreement must now be ratified by member governments before it takes effect.

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