The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is once again set to move ahead after the 11 member nations reached an agreement to move ahead with the free trade pact.
Australian trade minister Steve Ciobo has confirmed that an amended TPP deal is scheduled to be signed in Chile on March 8th, following successful efforts to bring Canada back into the fold. Moreover, the US has also offered indications that it may consider returning as a partner in future.
TPP negotiations have been ongoing for more than a decade, with the original version of the deal including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru. Singapore, Vietnam and the US. The agreement was finalized in February 2016, but was subsequently derailed by the election of Donald Trump as US president and his decision to withdraw the US from the TPP.
Since then, most of the remaining TPP members have been keen to revive the deal with a reduced 11-country scope, but Canadian leaders proved harder to convince, due to concerns about the deal's impact on its entertainment and automotive sectors, among others.
However, an agreement has now been reached, with the new-look TPP set to eliminate 98 percent of tariffs across a combined marketplace worth around $14 trillion (€11.24 trillion).
As an additional wrinkle, President Trump has suggested in recent days that the US would be willing to be a part of TPP once again, provided that a suitably beneficial arrangement was able to be reached.
The US president told CNBC: "I would do TPP if we were able to make a substantially better deal. The deal was terrible, the way it was structured was terrible. If we did a substantially better deal, I would be open to TPP."
However, he also reiterated his longstanding aversion to multilateral trade deals such as TPP, saying his preference is for simpler bilateral deals, because "if you have a problem, you terminate".