Pacific Rim countries agree on free trade

Washington, Oct 5 (IANS) Top trade negotiators of the US and 11 other Pacific Rim countries have reached a deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement, which covers about 40 percent of global economic output, the media reported Monday.

Senior officials announced the deal at a closing press conference in Atlanta, Georgia, after wrapping up the round-the-clock TPP ministerial meeting that lasted for about five days but was under negotiation for five years, Xinhua news agency reported.

Trade officials originally planned to end the TPP talks on October 1, but a final deal was delayed by differences over agricultural market access, rules of origin for autos and intellectual property protections for a new generation of drugs known as biologics.

The TPP, believed to be the world’s biggest trade agreement in the past two decades, will lower trade and investment barriers in the 12 partner countries in the Asia Pacific region and set new rules for the global trading system.

If approved, the agreement has the potential to influence trade in everything from dairy produce to cancer treatments.

The TPP talks involved Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam.

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