12 Pacific countries seal Free Trade Deal
6 October 2015, Nirapad News: The biggest trade deal in decades was struck on Monday.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) cuts trade tariffs and sets common standards in trade for 12 Pacific rim countries, including the US and Japan.
It marks the end of five years of often bitter and tense negotiations.
The accord involves significant market openings, tariff cuts on thousands of products, and pledges to protect investors across the 12 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
Japan has made major concessions open its market wider to major food exporters such as Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
The United States agreed to lower its tariffs on Japanese car parts from non-TPP locations like China and Thailand, even though that will hurt TPP and NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada.
Canada opens up to dairy products from New Zealand; both Australia and Canada get higher sugar quotas in the United States.
Supporters say it could be worth billions of dollars to the countries involved but critics say it was negotiated in secret and is biased towards corporations.
The deal covers about 40 percent of the world economy and was signed after five days of talks in Atlanta in the US.
President Barack Obama hailed the agreement as one that “strengthens our strategic relationships with our partners and allies in a region that will be vital to the 21st century.”
“When more than 95 percent of our potential customers live outside our borders, we can’t let countries like China write the rules of the global economy,” President Barack Obama said in a statement.
In Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper praised the “historic” accord, saying it opens more access to the Japan market for Canadian farmers and resource sectors.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also said it would deliver strong benefits for his country’s businesses.
And in New Zealand, where there was disappointment at not achieving more openings to the country’s prodigious dairy exports, Prime Minister John Key said it nevertheless meant “more jobs, higher incomes and a better standard of living.”
Despite the success of the negotiations, the deal still has to be ratified by lawmakers in each country.