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Asia-Pacific nations sign sweeping trade deal without U.S.

Reuters  |  SANTIAGO 

By Dave and Felipe Iturrieta

(Reuters) - Eleven countries including and signed a landmark trade agreement without the on Thursday in what one called a powerful signal against protectionism and trade wars.

The deal came as U.S. vowed earlier in the day to press ahead with a plan to impose tariffs on and aluminum imports, a move that other nations and the said could start a global trade war.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for (CPTPP) will reduce tariffs in countries that together amount to more than 13 percent of the global economy - a total of $10 trillion in With the United States, it would have represented 40 percent.

"Today, we can proudly conclude this process, sending a strong message to the international community that open markets, economic integration and international cooperation are the best tools for creating economic opportunities and prosperity," said Chilean

Heraldo Munoz, Chile's of foreign affairs, said he expected Chile's trade with China, its top trading partner, to continue growing alongside trade with CPTPP countries.

Even without the United States, the deal will span a market of nearly 500 million people, making it one of the world's largest trade agreements, according to Chilean and Canadian trade statistics.

The original 12-member agreement, known as the (TPP), was thrown into limbo early last year when Trump withdrew from the deal three days after his inauguration. He said the move was aimed at protecting U.S. jobs.

The 11 remaining nations finalized a revised trade pact in January. That agreement will become effective when at least six member nations have completed domestic procedures to ratify it, possibly before the end of the year.

"We are very hopeful like others that we will see the CP TPP coming into effect about the end of the year or shortly thereafter," said


The revised agreement eliminates some requirements of the original TPP demanded by U.S. negotiators, including rules to ramp up intellectual property protection of Governments and activists of other member nations worry the changes will raise the costs of medicine.

The final version of the agreement was released in on Feb. 21. The member countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, and

"We're proud ... to show the world that progressive trade is the way forward, that fair, balanced, and principled trade is the way forward, and that putting citizens first is the way forward for the world when it comes to trade," Canadian said.

In January, Trump, who also has threatened to pull the out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, told the in that it was possible might return to the TPP pact if it got a better deal. However, New Zealand's said that was unlikely in the near term, while has said altering the agreement now would be very difficult.

On Thursday, Munoz said CPTPP was not an agreement against anyone and several governments had said they want to join it.

Trump vowed on Thursday to impose a 25 percent tariff on imports and 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports, although he said there would be exemptions for NAFTA partners and

He announced the plan for tariffs last week, rattling financial markets.

Mexican Economy Ildefonso Guajardo, in for the CPTPP signing, told he would not allow the to use the tariffs to pressure it in the NAFTA talks. Champagne told that would not accept duties or quotas from the

(Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Writing by Dave and Caroline Stauffer; Editing by and Paul Simao)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 09 2018. 03:07 IST