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12 countries conclude Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement

Staff writer |
Trade ministers from 12 nations have signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to ease barriers and facilitate better trade relationships among the countries.

The pact has been in progress since 2008.
The pact was signed by the US, Japan, Australia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Peru and Chile.

A US Department of State release said that the TPP will spur economic growth and prosperity, enhance competitiveness, and bring jobs to American shores. It will provide new and meaningful access for American companies, large and small. The pact has been in progress since 2008.

US President Barack Obama was quoted by The Guardian as saying: "This partnership levels the playing field for our farmers, ranchers and manufacturers by eliminating more than 18,000 taxes that various countries put on our products.

"It includes the strongest commitments on labor and the environment of any trade agreement in history, and those commitments are enforceable, unlike in past agreements."

The pact, which is subject to approval from lawmakers of the 12 participating nations, is intended to facilitate easier exports and improts across various industries, from cheese markets to auto-parts.

For American dairy farmers, the pact would open the Canadian market for exporting milk. Cattle ranchers in the country are also expected to benefit as the pact envisages reduction of high tariffs on beef imports in Japan in the next 15 years, The New York Times reported.

The implementation of TPP would see the removal of trade partners' import taxes on US poultry products and fruit, 35% import taxes on soybeans will also be eliminated.

The US Congress will have 90 days time to review the deal.

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