Pacific countries sign landmark deal without US

European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom in Stockholm

The new agreement - known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership - drops tariffs drastically and establishes sweeping new trade rules in markets that represent about a seventh of the world's economy.

The agreement, also known as TPP 11, was finalised after Mr Trump pulled his country out of the original TPP deal shortly after he became president in January previous year.

The U.S., originally the biggest TPP economy, was one of the trade deal's strongest supporters before Trump took office.

He said Malaysia still stands to gain from market access to countries like Canada, Peru and Mexico, despite the absence of the US. While U.S. beef faces 38.5 percent tariffs in Japan, for example, beef from Australia, New Zealand and Canada will not.

The pact will go into effect 60 days after at least six countries complete domestic approval procedures.

The ministry said the successful signing was thanks to the remaining member states' decision in November last year to withhold the ratification of parts of the clauses in TPP after the US' withdrawal in January last year. The signing of the trade deal would also provide preferential access for more than $5.5 billion of Australias dutiable agricultural exports.

The 11 remaining countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have signed their revised version of the multilateral trade pact without the USA, reviving a deal set to slash tariffs and foster trade in a marketplace worth close to around US$13.5trn.

Trade supporters have said that in reality, free trade deals usually delivered much higher returns.

President Trump is going one way on trade.

"Last year Australia exported around $12b worth of agricultural goods to the TPP-11 countries, so this is a real game changer with huge potential".

"Of course, we also hope that the various free trade arrangements in the Asia-Pacific region will be able to communicate and co-ordinate with each other and form a benign interaction, playing a constructive role in their respective fields in resisting trade protectionism and building an open world economy".

"Most importantly, this agreement is the first of its kind to specifically address wine-related technical barriers to trade through the inclusion of a wine and spirits annex".

"The accord has an open architecture that is created to accommodate additional members and will include arrangements for periodic review and possible updates to the agreement itself", he said.

In addition to market access, Malaysia will also benefit in terms of enhancing governance in a number of economic sectors, strengthening economic cooperation among member countries and promoting adoption of global standards.

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