Pacific rim trade pact, abandoned by Trump, goes ahead after Australia ratifies deal

From left: New Zealand’s trade minister David Parker, Malaysian trade minister Datuk J. Jayasiri, Canadian trade minister Francois-Phillippe Champagne, Australian trade minister Steven Ciobo, Chilean foreign minister Heraldo Munoz, acting Brunei foreign affairs minister Erywan Dato Pehin and Japanese minister of economic revitalization Toshimitsu Motegi after signing the 11-nation Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership in Santiago, on March 8. (AFP)
Updated 31 October 2018
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Pacific rim trade pact, abandoned by Trump, goes ahead after Australia ratifies deal

  • ‘Our ratification means we are guaranteeing maximum benefits for our farmers and businesses’
  • The countries that have not yet ratified the agreement are Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Peru and Chile

BANGKOK: The Pacific rim trade pact abandoned by President Donald Trump will take effect at the year’s end after Australia became the sixth nation to ratify it.
Australia announced Wednesday that it had completed procedures needed for the trade arrangement, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, to progress. It will take effect Dec. 30.
The deal is aimed at streamlining trade and slashing tariffs to facilitate more business activities between member nations with a combined population of nearly 500 million people and GDP of $13.5 trillion.
“Our ratification means we are guaranteeing maximum benefits for our farmers and businesses,” Simon Birmingham, minister for Trade, Tourism and Development, said in a statement. He said the deal would bring annual benefits of up to $15.6 billion to the Australian economy by 2030.
The 11 nations remaining after the US withdrawal in early 2017 amended the pact to enable it to take effect even without its participation. Japan, Canada, Mexico and Singapore also have ratified it.
“The signal that it sends to the rest of the world that there’s a new rules-based order out there in the world that people can buy into if they want as an incredibly powerful signal at this particular time,” David Parker, New Zealand’s minister of Trade and Export Growth, told reporters.
“It has benefits that will spread throughout the economy to every person in New Zealand from the factory floor to the farm owner, to all of the other service industries that rely upon our export industries,” he said.
The US departure was a huge loss given the size of the American market. However other countries are said to be interested in joining the trade deal, which is seen as a first step toward a pan-Pacific free trade zone.
Trump said he was putting “America first” in seeking bilateral deals rather than broader ones like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said earlier this year that the US would consider rejoining the pact after it deals with other priorities.
Other TPP member countries have said they hope the US will rejoin, while emphasizing their commitment to the global trading system that has enabled many of them to build thriving modern economies.
Nearly two-dozen stipulations sought by the US in the original TPP deal reportedly were shelved after Washington withdrew, watering down somewhat the plan proclaimed by the Obama administration of being the “gold standard” for 21st century trade rules.
Birmingham, the Australian trade minister, said the deal would help farmers gain better access to Canada’s market for grains, sugar and beef, and to Mexico’s market for pork, wheat, sugar and other farm products.
It will also help iron and steel, leather, paper products and medical equipment manufacturers who export $19 billion annually to other markets within the trade pact, he said.
For New Zealand, the trade arrangement will bring duty-free access for its exporters of wine, meats, wool, timber and fisheries products, the government said in a statement.
The countries that have not yet ratified the agreement are Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Peru and Chile.
Separate efforts are underway to forge a free trade arrangement within Asia called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which encompasses the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, as well as Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, India and China, but not the United States.


Careem looks to raise up to $200 million in China

Updated 20 November 2018
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Careem looks to raise up to $200 million in China

  • Investment bank China International Capital Corporation (CICC) is advising Dubai-based Careem, but it was not immediately clear when or if a deal would be finalized
  • Careem said in October it had secured $200 million in a new funding round from existing investors

HONG KONG: Careem, Uber’s main Middle East rival, is looking at raising between $100 million and $200 million from Chinese investors, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Investment bank China International Capital Corporation (CICC) is advising Dubai-based Careem, but it was not immediately clear when or if a deal would be finalized, the source said, adding there was a lack of familiarity and interest among Chinese investors in Middle Eastern start-ups.
Beijing-based CICC and Careem both declined to comment.
Reuters reported on Monday that CICC and New York-based investment bank Jefferies were both advising Careem on potential investment options and capital raising, including a possible Middle East M&A deal with Uber.
Careem, which counts German car maker Daimler and China’s largest ride-hailing company DiDi Chuxing among its other backers, competes head-to-head with Uber in most of the major cities in the Middle East.
Careem said in October it had secured $200 million in a new funding round from existing investors, and that it expected to raise more to finance expansion plans.
That investment, combined with previous fund raising and company growth into new markets and segments, gave Careem an estimated valuation of more than $2 billion.
Reuters reported in March that Careem was in early talks to raise as much as $500 million.