Thursday made for a somewhat uneven day for global trade after 11 countries signed a revised remaining Trans-Pacific Partnership countries inkeda revised landmark Asia Pacific trade pact without the U.S., and on the same day U.S. President Donald Trump signed tariffs on iron and aluminum imports.
The revised trade agreement, called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), cut tariffs between its member countries, although it suspended rules ramping up intellectual property protection of pharmaceuticals.
Trump withdrew the U.S. from the TPP last year although he subsequently told CNBC in January that he would consider joining the pact once more if it was "substantially better."
On Thursday, he signed off on tariffs of 25 percent and 10 percent on steel and aluminum, respectively.
"It's one step forward, one step back for the trading system overall today," said Heath Baker, chief policy officer of the Export Council of Australia, an industry body.
On the whole, Baker remained positive that the trade agreement was a step in the right direction.
"The TPP 11 is just the first step. Bringing more countries on board to the TPP will grow that value," he said, pointing to how the agreement would set rules for the region's trading system in the future.
The CPTPP will generate $147 billion in income, according to simulations conducted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics. In comparison, the original TPP would have resulted in $492 billion in global income benefits, the think tank said.