Colombia looking to join new TPP

TPP may get back to a dozen signatories, with Colombia declaring its interest in the agreement.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

New Zealand Trade and Export Minister David Parker has said Colombia has informed Wellington of its intention to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) once it comes into force.

NZ is the depositary of the trade agreement signed between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Brunei, and Chile.

The original TPP was signed in February 2016, but the agreement was subsequently dumped by the US soon after Donald Trump took office.

Trump has said he prefers bilateral trade deals that promote his "America first" protectionist policy, despite warnings that he risked abdicating trade leadership in the Asia-Pacific region to China.

Parker said on Friday that it was important to defend and promote rules-based trade systems, and keep agreements like CPTPP open to other nations to join.

In April, Trump signalled the US may rejoin the TPP, but quickly changed his mind, informing the world of his decision via Twitter.

"While Japan and South Korea would like us to go back into TPP, I don't like the deal for the United States," Trump said after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"Too many contingencies and no way to get out if it doesn't work. Bilateral deals are far more efficient, profitable and better for OUR workers. Look how bad WTO is to U.S."

The gross domestic product of Columbia is roughly equivalent to that of existing TPP members Singapore and Malaysia.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull previously said that South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand were interested in joining CPTPP.

Turnbull has also floated the idea of the UK signing up post-Brexit.

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