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
0

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.


Samsung delays Galaxy Fold media events in China

Updated 22 April 2019
0

Samsung delays Galaxy Fold media events in China

  • Instead of plaudits ahead of the phone’s launch on April 26 in the US, Samsung has instead received brickbats
  • The hashtag #foldgate trended on Twitter because of the smartphone issues

SEOUL: Smartphone maker Samsung postponed media events for its Galaxy Fold planned for this week in Hong Kong and Shanghai, a company official said, days after reviewers of the foldable handset reported defective samples.
The official did not elaborate on reasons or rescheduling.
Instead of plaudits ahead of the phone’s launch on April 26 in the United States, the South Korean conglomerate has been blighted by technology journalists reporting breaks, bulges and blinking screens after using their samples for as little as a day.
Samsung said it received “a few” reports of damage to the displays of samples of the $1,980 handset, raising the specter of the combustible Galaxy Note 7 three years ago which the firm ultimately pulled from shelves at massive cost.
The reviewers’ reports of broken screens went viral online and prompted the creation of hashtag #foldgate on Twitter.
Samsung has hailed the folding design as the future in a field that has seen few surprises since Apple’s iPhone in 2007. Chinese rival Huawei Technologies has also announced a folding handset, the Mate X.
The Samsung official on Monday said it had no change to its previously announced release date in the United States.
It plans to begin South Korean and European sales in May, and Chinese sales from an undisclosed date.