New Zealand says Pacific trade deal will boost GDP 1 percent

Almost half of the U.S. Senate's 51 Republicans urged President Trump to revive talks with Japan, Canada, Australia and eight other countries on a trade deal the White House rejected past year.

Australia says the agreement would eliminate more than 98 percent of tariffs in a trade zone with a combined GDP of some US$13 trillion.

The CPTPP will be signed in Santiago, Chile, on 8 March.

Changes to the original document include the suspension of 22 items relating to areas such intellectual property and taxpayer-subsidized medicine.

Steve Daines and 24 other Republicans, sent Trump a signed letter asking him to reconsider his decision to pull the US out of the TPP.

Already built into the agreement are 22 suspensions of the original TPPA, reflecting the fact that US President Donald Trump's first action on taking office a year ago was to withdraw the world's largest economy from the deal in favour of bilateral trade deals. "If we did a substantially better deal, I would be open to TPP", he said.

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Trump himself cracked the door open for this particular appeal when he dangled the possibility of reviving USA participation in the agreement during a CNBC interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Up until then, Trump had said he only wanted to do unilateral deals between the United States and one other country.

Earlier Thursday, President Trump issued a largely symbolic proclamation, ordering that flags be flown at half staff at U.S. embassies, government buildings and military installations."Our nation grieves with those who have lost loved ones in the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida", he said. "They have suspended numerous controversial ones, particularly around pharmaceuticals", said Kimberlee Weatherall, professor of law at the University of Sydney. But now that TPP is moving forward without the United States, Australian and New Zealand farmers are likely to be the biggest beneficiaries.

International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne has said a side letter with Japan guarantees greater access and enshrines a dispute resolution mechanism.

The 11 countries involved areNew Zealand, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, and Viet Nam. In a Friday letter, 25 of them encouraged him to "work aggressively" to renegotiate terms and rejoin the sweeping pact with 11 other Pacific Rim nations that the Obama administration originally organized.

An economic analysis released by the Canadian government on Wednesday said the pact would provide exporters with tariff savings of C$428 million ($338 million) per year.

  • Sonia Alvarado