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            november 20, 2019

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11-Pacific nation Japanese-led free trade pact to activate in 2019


An 11-PACIFIC nation trade pact, once conceived as a check on Chinese influence, is set to kick in next year, reports Bloomberg.
After the US pulled out, Australia was sixth country to ratify the Japan-led Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) - the number needed to trigger the 60-day countdown to the deal's activation.
"I expect other signatories will come on board after the CPTPP enters into force, as many are working hard to progress their applicable domestic procedures," New Zealand Trade Minister David Parker.
"As a result, we could well see other signatories in a position to ratify over the coming weeks and months."
CPTPP countries represent 14 per cent of global GDP. Supporters will hail the deal's enactment as a victory for the global trading system bemoaned by US President Donald Trump, who quit the original TPP deal.
Member nations were pushing to trigger the countdown so that the pact could come into provisional force before the end of the year. That would ensure an initial tariff cut followed by a second round on January 1, when most of the nations make their annual tariff reductions.
Japan's reductions come on April 1 each year. "The timing means there will be the added bonus of a second round of tariff cuts in January 2019 for New Zealand exporters into those markets which apply a calendar tariff year," said Mr Parker.
He said CPTPP marks the first free trade deal for New Zealand with Japan, the third largest economy in the world, as well as with Mexico and Canada, which are both G20 countries.
Australia joined Canada, Mexico, Japan, Singapore and New Zealand in ratifying the deal. Countries yet to ratify are Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam. The other countries will each join after ratifying but will face a delayed schedule of tariff cuts.

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