Trans-Pacific Partnership Signed in Chile

The much anticipated Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, formerly known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was signed March 8 in Santiago, Chile, as member nations moved forward without the United States to build a stronger global economy.

The 11 member nations—Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam—finalized the CPTPP as the Trump administration sought to move forward with new tariffs on aluminum and steel imports to the United States.

Under the Obama administration, the United States was a member of the original Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal that was met with ire from many of the country’s legislators. Although President Barack Obama signed on with the 11 other nations, each country was awaiting approval from their legislators when U.S. participation in the agreement came to a halt after it became a contentious issue during the 2016 presidential election.

President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the original version of the TPP, which excluded China and was set to lower tariffs imposed on a number of goods from member nations. Recently, Trump has backpedaled on his criticism of the new CPTPP, revealing that he would be open to further discussion regarding U.S. participation if the deal would provide greater benefit to the country. Currently, the United States has free-trade agreements with CPTPP members Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Singapore.

As news of the CPTPP broke, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer released a statement in response to Trump’s presidential proclamations regarding tariffs on steel and aluminum.

“Under the leadership of President Trump, America has a robust trade agenda that supports our national security. The President is once again demonstrating he will protect our country, fight for American workers and strictly enforce our trade laws.”