News analysis

CPTPP more crucial than ever in the face of rising protectionism

Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang signing the the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Santiago, Chile, on March 8, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

At 2am this morning, Singapore time - or 3pm on a Chilean afternoon - the remaining 11 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) met in Santiago to sign the revised trade pact, definitively overcoming the existential threat posed by the withdrawal of the United States in January last year.

The trade pact is unarguably diminished by the loss of its largest partner. Yet, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) which replaces it is nonetheless a significant achievement - and perhaps of greater importance than before, given growing protectionism today.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2018, with the headline 'CPTPP more crucial than ever in the face of rising protectionism'. Subscribe