Pacific Rim nations sign trade deal without the US

Pacific Rim nations sign trade deal without the US
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Eleven Pacific Rim nations gathered in Chile on Thursday to sign a massive free-trade agreement that the United States abandoned more than a year ago.

The nations, including Canada and Mexico, signed the renamed Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership in Santiago after spending the better part of the last year reworking the deal.

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The signing comes the same day that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: Dems playing destructive 'con game' with Kavanaugh Several Yale Law classmates who backed Kavanaugh call for misconduct investigation Freedom Caucus calls on Rosenstein to testify or resign MORE is set to announce tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, which are expected to exempt Canada and Mexico, U.S. partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The members of the newly signed pact are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The 11 nations say they are seeking to add interested nations into the agreement. 

Shortly after taking office, Trump withdrew the United States from the original Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was first negotiated during the Obama administration

The other nations decided to move ahead without the United States, which was the largest economy in the pact. 

Trump has recently said that he may consider rejoining the Pacific Rim trade agreement if the United States can get a better deal. 

This is "a strong sign against the protectionist pressures, and in favor of a world open to free trade, without unilateral sanctions and the threat of trade wars," Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz said, according to The Associated Press. 

The president has shunned more comprehensive trade agreements in favor of bilateral deals with other countries. So far, the Trump administration has yet to start talks on any new trade agreements. 

The United States is engaged in negotiations to update NAFTA and make improvements to a U.S.-South Korea trade agreement. 

Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, tweeted that it is a "truly a sad and bad day for the United States, as TPP comes into force without us while US deciding on which countries to apply unwarranted and ill-advised tariffs."

"Abdication of 3/4 of a century of promoting a trade order that has served US [economy] and strategic interests," Haass wrote. 

Advocates for the trade agreement said the Pacific Rim deal would cement the U.S. presence in the region and would amount to improved economic, strategic and political stability. 

They said it would provide a buffer against China's rising global economic presence.