TPP member countries, their GDP and population numbers. TPP member countries, their GDP, population numbers and value of exports as a percentage of GDP.

MX among 11 nations in new trading bloc

Trans-Pacific Partnership 'stands behind open markets and trade liberalization'

Mexico was one of 11 Pacific Rim countries that formally entered into a revised trade pact in Chile yesterday that will slash tariffs between the participating nations.


The signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP11, contrasted sharply with United States President Donald Trump’s formal announcement that the U.S. is introducing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo represented Mexico in the signing ceremony in Santiago that was presided over by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and attended by trade ministers from the member nations.

“Despite rising protectionism trends, what you have collectively achieved today constitutes a clear message that we stand behind open markets and trade liberalization,” the Chilean leader said.

Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz agreed, saying “we will be giving a very powerful signal against protectionist pressures, in favor of a world open to trade, without unilateral sanctions and without the threat of trade wars.”

The new trade bloc includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The combined population of the countries exceeds 500 million people and together their economies account for 13% of global gross domestic product (GDP).


The agreement was originally conceived as a counterbalance to China’s increasing economic influence.

But President Trump withdrew the United States from the original TPP deal on his first day in office, a move that many thought would kill off the agreement.

But the remaining 11 countries decided to forge ahead regardless and there is a possibility that nations including the United Kingdom, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines could later join.

If the United States had remained in the agreement, the TPP would have accounted for around 40% of global GDP. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has said that he is in discussions to consider rejoining the agreement.

The TPP11 will go into effect 60 days after six of the 11 member countries have ratified the agreement domestically.

In Mexico’s case, the text of the treaty will be sent to the federal Senate for analysis and approval.

The agreement creates the world’s third largest trade bloc after the European Union (EU) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The latter is currently subject to a contentious — and slow — renegotiation process.

In a statement, the Economy Secretariat said that “Mexican products will have access to six new markets: Australia, Brunei, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam” as a result of the TPP11.

It also said that “it will enable Mexico to deepen its access to the agri-food market in Japan and consolidate preferential tariffs with Canada, Chile and Peru.”

News website Quartz said the TPP11 “creates more leverage for Mexico and Canada in trade negotiations with the U.S.”

The signing of the pact comes as some analysts say the U.S. government is using the introduction of tariffs as a negotiating ploy in ongoing NAFTA talks

Trump announced yesterday that Mexico and Canada will be initially exempt from its metal tariffs although the U.S. president appeared to indicate that getting a favorable outcome in an updated NAFTA deal was a condition of them being made permanent.

Uncertainty surrounding NAFTA has spurred Mexico into seeking new trade agreements and export markets.

It is currently negotiating an updated agreement with the EU that is reportedly close to conclusion. Names of cheeses and jalapeño and chipotle chiles have been among the obstacles that have held up the trade talks.

Source: El Financiero (sp), Quartz (en)

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  • Mike S

    US trade deficit with China grew 9% in 2017 !!

    Trump has been playing right into China’s hands

    By Catherine Rampell Opinion writer March 8 at 7:51 PM Email the author
    If this is how we show China who’s boss, China has just learned it has a pretty dumb boss.

    On Thursday, President Trump signed sweeping new tariffs on steel and aluminum, against the urging of economists, allies and most of the manufacturing, retail and home-building industries. This policy will likely destroy American jobs both in industries that use steel and aluminum and in ones that may soon be hit by retaliatory measures from other countries.

    But no matter all that. Trump really, really wants to stick it to China! Too bad this won’t stick much.

    U.S. steel jobs have been mostly lost due to technological change (i.e., robots, not China). U.S. aluminum jobs have been mostly lost to places with cheaper electricity (i.e., Iceland, which is coincidentally also not China).

    Right now China isn’t even among the top 10 producers of U.S. steel imports. The top country we import from is Canada, which apparently should be grateful it has been given a reprieve from these tariffs “at least at this time.”

    If hurting Canada is Trump’s best strategy for intimidating China, our next step should be maple-syrup taxes.

    Misdirected metal tariffs are hardly the only way our dealmaker in chief has revealed himself to be a less-than-slick negotiator with China.

    The day before signing the tariff proclamation, Trump tweeted: “China has been asked to develop a plan for the year of a One Billion Dollar reduction in their massive Trade Deficit with the United States.”

    Golly, a whole One Billion Dollars! That sounds like a Staggering Sum.

    Except that our trade deficit with China last year was $375 billion. That means Trump asked China to amend the balance of trade by about 0.3 percent, or the equivalent of less than one day’s deficit. Because duh, everyone knows you prove yourself a tough negotiator by making a ridiculously teeny opening ask.

    A subsequent Wall Street Journal article suggested Trump actually meant to demand a $100 billion change in the deficit. For all the Internet memes comparing Trump officials to Bond bad guys, the bumbling villains of Austin Powers are the better reference.

    Astonishingly, Trump’s $99 billion rounding error wasn’t even the only flub in that short trade-policy-via-Twitter missive. Note the president referred to China’s “massive Trade Deficit with the United States.” Not to be persnickety here, but China has a trade surplus with the United States; we’re the ones with the deficit.

    Trump has repeatedly accused administrations of making “bad deals” on trade due to “incompetence.” Yet in one fell tweet, he revealed his own trade-related ineptitude twice. You can bet Beijing noticed.

    But forget Twitter for a moment. Had Trump really wanted to get “tough” with China in the name of promoting U.S. interests and values, he has had ample opportunities.

    Every time, he has played right into Chinese hands.

    Take, for instance, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This 12-country pact deliberately excluded China; it was to make sure the United States rather than China got to “write the rules of the road for trade in the 21st century,” as then-President Barack Obama put it.

    Among Trump’s first orders of business upon taking office, however, was to pull out of the pact. But that doesn’t mean the deal died when we left.

    Incidentally, also Thursday — the day Trump signed his metal-tariff proclamation — the remaining 11 members of the pact signed a new version of the same trade deal. Their version stripped out some of the conditions won by U.S. negotiators, such as increased intellectual property protections for pharmaceuticals.

    Trump has declined other chances to get tough with China.

    After it became clear the Chinese constitution would change to allow President Xi Jinping to hold power indefinitely, Trump didn’t criticize the authoritarian move. Instead, in comments secretly recorded at a fundraiser last weekend, he expressed admiration for Xi as “a great gentleman” who “treated us tremendously well when I went over there.” Xi, Trump cheered, had just made himself “president for life. . . . I think it’s great.”

    Trump jokingly added that “maybe we will give that a shot someday,” the line that got the most attention. But the comments letting Xi off the hook, in fact praising Xi for consolidating power, were far more consequential. They signal to China that not only do we not care about the country’s increasing authoritarianism; we encourage it.

    It’s not altogether surprising though. Xi has charmed the pants off Trump, who appears envious of the Chinese government’s military parades, press controls, disregard for human rights and other totalitarian perks.

    China’s most dangerous possible export to the United States isn’t a metal. Increasingly, it’s a style of political leadership.

    • Roberto

      Robert F. It was the case and very possibly still is the fact that about 25 percent of the U.S. trade deficit with China is due to the imports from there made by Walmart. Increased tariffs aimed against China just on Walmart imports will result in significant increases in Walmart’s prices for millions of U.S. citizens who shop at their stores. Certainly with a drop in Walmart’s sales due to higher prices will result in job losses at their stores and less jobs means less taxes earned by the U.S. Government’s

      • Mike S

        China is the big trade deficit elephant in the room- the reason being they (unlike Mx) refuse to buy US products. The trade deficit went up anther 9% in 2017 with China. They also demand that foreign companies that set up shop there share their proprietary technology with Chinese competitors as part of the price of doing business. These are the actions of an expanding predatory empire that wants economic domination of the world. That’s fine for the 1% but is devastating for the bottom 99% of Americans. Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs will hurt the wrong trading partners. NAFTA is a powerful economic block that can and must compete with China. Destroying that is really stupid. Walmart & Target and True Value and dozens of other big box stores are basically Chinese retailers. We need to have very specific trade policies that force China to open its markets to US goods and that do not punish our other trading partners. Equal two-way trade should be our goal not protectionism and tariffs which are really just a hidden tax on the middle class.

        • DreadFool

          verbatim from cnnbc’s the daily hering monger

          • Mike S

            Senior fool

            Could you please only post when you’re off your meds or wine. Your posts are incomprehensible. I don’t have cable TV and don’t watch Fox or MSNBC.

          • DreadFool

            “An extraordinary number of former intelligence and military operatives from the CIA, Pentagon, National Security Council and State Department are seeking nomination as Democratic candidates for Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. The potential influx of military-intelligence personnel into the legislature has no precedent in US political history.” that should make you happy!

          • Mike S

            Without one iota of documentation to back up you claim of “extraordinary number”, I don’t put much credence in it. My deep blue state of California has 53 US House seats. I’m unaware of and ex intelligence operatives running as new candidates.. I do know that there are a record number of women running nation wide this cycle.

          • DreadFool

            well.if you’re unaware, that settles that. and how do you know I don;t have documentation? Buen fin!

          • Mike S

            senior fool

            Produce your information backing your claim the some “deep state” military and CIA operatives thru the Dem Party have designs on the House. Right now there are 435 sears up for grab and in primary season probably 1500 citizens vying for those seats from both parties. I would expect a dozen or so ex-intelligence offers to be running and may 6 will make it over the finish line. A lot of those people have good insights on foreign policy. I don’t get your whole point.

          • DreadFool

            A case in point is Elissa Slotkin, a former CIA operative with three tours in Iraq, who worked as Iraq director for the National Security Council in the Obama White House and as a top aide to John Negroponte, the first director of national intelligence. After her deep involvement in US war crimes in Iraq, Slotkin moved to the Pentagon, where, as a principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, her areas of responsibility included drone warfare, “homeland defense” and cyber warfare.

            Elissa Slotkin

            The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has designated Slotkin as one of its top candidates, part of the so-called “Red to Blue” program targeting the most vulnerable Republican-held seats—in this case, the Eighth Congressional District of Michigan, which includes Lansing and Brighton. The House seat for the district is now held by two-term Republican Representative Mike Bishop.

            The Democratic leaders are promoting CIA agents and Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. At the same time, such people are choosing the Democratic Party as their preferred political vehicle. There are far more former spies and soldiers seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party than of the Republican Party. There are so many that there is a subset of Democratic primary campaigns that, with a nod to Mad magazine, one might call “spy vs. spy.”

            The 23rd Congressional District in Texas, which includes a vast swathe of the US-Mexico border along the Rio Grande, features a contest for the Democratic nomination between Gina Ortiz Jones, an Air Force intelligence officer in Iraq, who subsequently served as an adviser for US interventions in South Sudan and Libya, and Jay Hulings. The latter’s website describes him as a former national security aide on Capitol Hill and federal prosecutor, whose father and mother were both career undercover CIA agents. The incumbent Republican congressman, Will Hurd, is himself a former CIA agent, so any voter in that district will have his or her choice of intelligence agency loyalists in both the Democratic primary and the general election.

            CNN’s “State of the Union” program on March 4 included a profile of Jones as one of many female candidates seeking nomination as a Democrat in Tuesday’s primary in Texas. The network described her discreetly as a “career civil servant.” However, the Jones for Congress website positively shouts about her role as a spy, noting that after graduating from college, “Gina entered the US Air Force as an intelligence officer, where she deployed to Iraq and served under the US military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy” (the last phrase signaling to those interested in such matters that Jones is gay).

            According to her campaign biography, Ortiz Jones was subsequently detailed to a position as “senior advisor for trade enforcement,” a post President Obama created by executive order in 2012. She would later be invited to serve as a director for investment at the Office of the US Trade Representative, where she led the portfolio that reviewed foreign investments to ensure they did not pose national security risks. With that background, if she fails to win election, she can surely enlist in the trade war efforts of the Trump administration.

          • Mike S

            This is laughable. Three out of a pool of 1500 people running for congress?? And what exactly is so bad about an ex-intelligence officer with lots of international knowledge running for congress? Are they a House of Medici with a secret agenda from back rooms? What is their secret agenda? Maybe they are really concerned about Trump’s utter ignorance and discarding long-held American values of freedom, democracy, and human rights. Trump has surrounded himself with low IQ retired generals, a racist AG, and a billionaire cabinet of sycophants- now that is a little scary.

          • DreadFool

            LOL The House of Representatives is currently controlled by the Republicans, with a majority of 238 compared to 193 Democrats. There are four vacancies, one previously held by the Democrats. To reach a majority of 218 seats in the next Congress, the Democrats must have a net gain of 24 seats.

            The DCCC has designated 102 seats as priority or competitive, including 22 seats where the incumbents are not running again (five Democrats and 17 Republicans), and 80 seats where Republican incumbents could be defeated for reelection in the event that polls predicting a considerable swing to the Democrats in November prove accurate.

            I have reviewed the Federal Election Commission reports filed by all the Democratic candidates in these 102 competitive districts, focusing on those candidates who reported by the latest filing date, December 31, 2017, that they had raised at least $100,000 for their campaigns, giving them a financial war chest sufficient to run in a competitive primary contest. In addition, there a few cases where a candidate had less than the $100,000 cutoff, but was unchallenged for the nomination, or where last-minute retirement or resignation has led to late entry of high-profile candidates without an FEC report on file. These have also been included.

            The total of such candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 102 districts is 221. Each has a website that gives biographical details, which we have collected and reviewed for this report. It is notable that those candidates with a record in the military-intelligence apparatus, as well as civilian work for the State Department, Pentagon or National Security Council, do not hide their involvement, particularly in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They clearly regard working as a CIA agent in Baghdad, an Army special ops assassin in Afghanistan, or a planner for drone missile warfare in the White House or Pentagon as a star on their résumé, rather than something to conceal.

            One quarter of all the Democratic challengers in competitive House districts have military-intelligence, State Department or NSC backgrounds. This is by far the largest subcategory of Democratic candidates. National security operatives (57) outnumber state and local government officials (45), lawyers (35), corporate executives, businessmen and wealthy individuals (30) and other professionals (19) among the candidates for Democratic congressional nominations.

            Of the 102 primary elections to choose the Democratic nominees in these competitive districts, 44 involve candidates with a military-intelligence or State Department background, with 11 districts having two such candidates, and one district having three. In the majority of contests, the military-intelligence candidates seem likely to win the Democratic nomination, and, if the Democrats win in the general election, would enter Congress as new members of the House of Representatives.

            There are some regional differences. In the Northeast, 21 of the 31 seats targeted by the Democrats have military-intelligence candidates. This area, not the South or Midwest, has the highest proportion of military-intelligence candidates seeking Democratic nominations.

            In the West, only 7 of the 23 targeted seats have military-intelligence candidates, while in a half dozen seats the leading candidates are self-funded millionaires, mainly from the IT industry. There has been a wave of Republican retirements in California and wealthy people are bidding for these seats.

            The military-intelligence candidates are disproportionately favored by the party apparatus, encouraged to run in districts that are the most likely takeover targets. Military-intelligence candidates account for 10 of the 22 districts selected for the most high-profile attention as part of the “red-to-blue” program, or nearly half. In some cases, military-intelligence candidates have amassed huge campaign war chests that effectively shut out any potential rivals, an indication that the financial backers of the Democratic Party have lined up behind them.


          • Mike S

            What is your point? This country has been military boot lickers for a long time. Being a vet and a Christian is almost a must for running for congress for a long time. Cheney & Bush senior were big intelligence guys. Are you trying to build a case that there is a great mysterious conspiracy out there? The “deep state” as Trump calls it… out to undermine his great vision for America. The military and vets ever since we dropped the draft have always been pro right-wing and strongly GOP. Republican because they are the ones always ready to give the military a blank check. You are working overtime to try and prove something that is really far fetched. We’ll just have to wait and see who gets elected in November. My guess is that as long as the Conman can keep the economy juiced up for the next 8 months with huge deficit spending during “good economic times”….and decimating the EPA and pulling back Big Bank & Wall Street supervision…he will hold on to the gerrymandered House. Senate races just by luck this November heavily favor the GOP. It will take a real revolution for Dems to take back both houses. They only way is if Trump is so toxic he drags the whole GOP brand down. A big test is coming Tuesday in Penn in a House district that voted for Trump 70-30. After Roy Moore the Dems are optimistic….probably too optimistic.

    • DreadFool

      someone else’s opinion to back up _your own opinion, cheap shlock, in _my opinion.

      • daniel pugh

        Blah blah blah.

  • GerryL

    Sorry US. Your “glory days” are over.

  • WestCoastHwy

    As I was saying about “Open Markets”, with Mexican unreasonable taxes and duties, being tariff exempted doesn’t add up to beans. Most Mexicans if not all do not pay income taxes or cheat like hell therefore the Mexican Government uses tolls, consumer taxes and a lot of duties on imports which render any “Open Market” benefit useless. When I can order something from China and have it delivered to my compound with reasonable tax and destination charges, then I will believe in tariff exemption. For the time being, I’m being charged about 45% over cost which I have to support the “Black Market” and keep the Mexican Criminal Economy alive and well.

  • Idaho_common_tater

    Hmmm… Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Canada… ????

  • Roberto

    Amazing to read a few of the “right wing”, “conspiracy theorists” degenerate what was originally a discussion about China and tariffs into their extremest and totally polarized points of view against the more open minded and balanced points of view of others that they imply come from the far left thinkers, hence the Democrats. Sadly the current inability to debate and respect each person’s right to free expression has resulted in an environment in the U.S. that even my friend who voted for Trump and has right wing perspectives (not close to the extreme of those writing here) has told me on numerous occasion he will never return to live in his country. And oh by the way he at one time worked in the Secret Service in the U.S.

    Do some of you remember when Goodyear closed most of their old tire plants in the U.S. resulting in thousands of workers to loose their employment??? Well why is that the U.S. Federal Government allowed Goodyear to ship all their usable tire molds to China which subsequently made China the largest tire manufacturing country in the world. And very likely all Goodyear’s shutdown costs and transport cost of the molds became tax write-offs.

    How many metal scarp dealers in the U.S. are still selling and exporting the steel scrap to China? No wonder this adds to the fact that China has become the largest steel manufacturing country in the world? Do any of you remember a number of years ago China cornered the market on re-bar steel due in part to their internal demand for re-bar needed for their massive construction projects? And this was happening when the Republicans were in control as they are now. Oh do any of you remember when one of your Bush Presidents imposed a steel tariff resulting in thousands of job looses in the U.S. and other negative impacts before the tariff was removed?

    And why recently has Zinke apparently made the suggestion that possibly the U.S. will try to get back into the TPP agreement which was recently strengthen by the TPP original signatories at their meeting in Chile? Could it be that Zinke realizes that due to the fact that TPP deliberately precluded China in the trading bloc TPP created, that Trump cancelling U.S. participation has Zinke realizing the trade advantages for U.S. exports to the bloc member countries would have been huge and being out will have long term negative effects on the U.S. economy. Sorry Zinke, Trump opting out should never allow him to think let alone you that TPP ever consider opening the doors to the U.S. to try to now once again join.

    My opinions and comments. For those who do not respect my right of self-expression go to hell with your criticisms and belittlements of me. I respect my right leaning friend in his points of view and we both trade our respective jokes without putting each other down. You see I learned many years ago showing respect is listening to the right of a person to hold their points of view (but I do not have to accept their opinions as being valid for me) without me criticizing and trying to tell the person they are wrong. Too bad the polarized citizenry and Politicians no longer treat each other with mutual respect in the U.S.