Eleven countries are expected to sign a landmark Asia-Pacific trade agreement in Santiago on Thursday, as an antidote to the increasingly protectionist bent of the United States, which last year pulled out of the pact.
The signing ceremony comes the day after Europe and the International Monetary Fund urged U.S. President Donald Trump to step back from the brink of a trade war sparked by plans to slap duties on steel and aluminum imports.
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. With the United States, it would have represented 40 percent.
Even without the United States, the deal will span a market of nearly 500 million people, making it one of the globe's three largest trade agreements, according to Chilean and Canadian trade statistics.