|Chief negotiators from the 11 signatories of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) (Source: Kyodo)
The consensus was reached at a meeting in the hot-spring resort of Hakone, Japan’s Kanagawa prefecture, on July 18-19, which took place amidst growing concerns about the trade war and rise of protectionism.
The negotiators checked each member’s progress towards completing domestic procedures to ratify the trade deal and discussed the future expansion of the CPTPP membership.
The pact will take effect 60 days after at least six countries have completed their domestic procedures. Japan, Mexico, and Singapore have already ended their ratification processes, with three more – namely Australia, New Zealand, and Vietnam – likely to follow suit by the end of the year.
Thailand, Indonesia, Colombia, the Republic of Korea, and Taiwan (China) have all expressed interest in joining the CPTPP.
In addition, Britain has also shown interest, with Trade Minister Liam Fox saying on July 18 that the country will broach the issue with the public.
On July 19, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga hailed the UK’s interest, adding that Japan is ready to share any pertinent information.
However, new members interested in joining will likely be required to accept what have already been negotiated by the existing 11 members, for example intellectual property.
The original Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was signed by 12 countries in February 2016 but US President Donald Trump pulled his country from the deal upon his inauguration in January 2017.
The remaining 11 countries – namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam – signed the pact and renamed it the CPTPP in March 2018 in Chile.
The pact is expected to boost economic growth, create more jobs, reduce poverty, and improve the quality of life for people in member countries.
It will create one of the world’s largest free trade blocs with a combined market of 499 million people and a GDP of around US$10.1 trillion, accounting for 13.5 percent of the global GDP.