Faint corporate praise greets TPP trade deal

Tue Oct 6, 2015 3:00am EDT
 
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* Trans Pacific Partnership free-trade deal signed on Monday

* Covers 12 Pacific Rim countries, 40 pct of world economy

* Companies say it falls sort of promised ambitions

* Some complain U.S. is biggest beneficiary

By Jane Wardell

SYDNEY, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Early industry reaction to a historic trade agreement reached between 12 Pacific Rim countries on Monday amounted to faint praise that it could have been worse and umbrage that the United States appeared to be the biggest winner.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), aimed at liberalising commerce across nations accounting for 40 percent of the world's economy, was signed late on Monday after five difficult years of talks, though it still needs ratification by each country.

Initial ambitions for the deal, covering an enormous range of products and services from kiwifruit to semiconductors, were clipped back in many areas to find agreement. There was also concern that the summary made public didn't disclose the detail where the devils might lurk.

New Zealand's Fonterra, the world's biggest dairy exporter, said the deal, which would cut tariffs on 93 percent of its exports to the United States, fell "far short" of its original ambition to eliminate all tariffs, blaming "entrenched" U.S. protectionism.   Continued...