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UPDATE 3-Asia-Pacific nations sign sweeping trade deal without U.S.

(Updates after deal signed)

By Dave Sherwood and Felipe Iturrieta

SANTIAGO, March 8 (Reuters) - Eleven countries including
Japan and Canada signed a landmark Asia-Pacific trade agreement
without the United States on Thursday in what one minister
called a powerful signal against protectionism and trade wars.

In Washington, U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to press
ahead with a plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum
imports, a move that other nations and the International
Monetary Fund said could start a global trade war.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for
Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will reduce tariffs in
countries that together amount to more than 13 percent of the
global economy - a total of $10 trillion in gross domestic
product. With the United States, it would have represented 40

Heraldo Munoz, Chile's minister of foreign affairs, said the
agreement was a strong signal "against protectionist pressures,
in favor of a world open to trade, without unilateral sanctions
and without the threat of trade wars."

"We will be giving a very powerful signal," he said at a
news conference after giving a joint statement with trade
ministers from Canada and New Zealand.

Even without the United States, the deal will span a market
of nearly 500 million people, making it one of the world's
largest trade agreements, according to Chilean and Canadian
trade statistics.

The original 12-member agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP), was thrown into limbo early last year when
Trump withdrew from the deal three days after his inauguration.
He said the move was aimed at protecting U.S. jobs.


The 11 remaining nations finalized a revised trade pact in
January. That agreement will become effective when at least six
member nations have completed domestic procedures to ratify it.

The revised agreement eliminates some requirements of the
original TPP demanded by U.S. negotiators, including rules to
ramp up intellectual property protection of pharmaceuticals.
Governments and activists of other member nations worry the
changes will raise the costs of medicine.

The final version of the agreement was released in New
Zealand on Feb. 21. The member countries are Australia, Brunei,
Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru,
Singapore and Vietnam.

"We're proud ... to show the world that progressive trade is
the way forward, that fair, balanced, and principled trade is
the way forward, and that putting citizens first is the way
forward for the world when it comes to trade," Canadian Trade
Minister Francois-Phillippe Champagne said.

In January, Trump, who also has threatened to pull the
United States out of the North American Free Trade Agreement,
told the World Economic Forum in Switzerland that it was
possible Washington might return to the TPP pact if it got a
better deal. However, New Zealand's trade minister said that was
unlikely in the near term, while Japan has said altering the
agreement now would be very difficult.

On Thursday, Trump vowed to impose a 25 percent tariff on
steel imports and 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports,
although he said he was willing to strike a deal that could
exempt NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada.

Trump announced the planned tariffs last week, rattling
financial markets.

Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo, in Santiago
for the TPP signing, told Reuters he would not allow the United
States to use the tariffs to pressure it in ongoing NAFTA talks.
Champagne told Reuters that Canada would not accept duties or
quotas from the United States.

(Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Writing by Dave Sherwood and
Caroline Stauffer
Editing by Bill Trott and Paul Simao)

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