Pacific Rim states reach trade pact

Twelve Pacific Rim states have reached the most ambitious trade pact in a generation, aiming to liberalise commerce in 40% of the world’s economy.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact struck in Atlanta could reshape industries, change the cost of products from cheese to cancer treatments, and have repercussions for drug companies and automakers.

Negotiators worked round the clock over the weekend to settle tough issues such as monopoly rights for new biotech drugs.

New Zealand’s demand for greater access for its dairy exports was only settled at 9am yesterday.

If approved, the pact would cut trade barriers and set common standards for a region stretching from Vietnam to Canada.

It would also furnish a legacy-shaping victory for US president Barack Obama, who will further promote the agreement today in remarks to business leaders in Washington.

The Obama administration hopes the pact will help the US increase its influence in East Asia and help counter the rise of China, which is not one of the TPP nations.

However, many of Obama’s Democrats, as well as labour groups, fear the TPP will cost manufacturing jobs and weaken environmental laws.


Lifestyle

AS Joaquin Phoenix rose to the podium to collect his Academy Award for Best Actor, ears were peeled as the actor made his speech about inequality and our disconnect with the natural world.Paul McLauchlan: Leading men lead the way on Oscars red carpet

The new season blood oranges have arrived, they’ve been trickling into the shops ever since Christmas — such joy. I long for their delightful fresh taste after the rich food of the festive season.Darina Allen: Blood Oranges have a delightfully fresh taste after the rich food of winter

She’s the Cork singer dubbed the next Kate Bush, shortlisted by Universal, the world’s biggest record label, as their artist to watch in 2020. This will be the year of Lyra, writes Ed PowerLyra: Meet the new Kate Bush - and she's from Cork

For relationships to endure, we need to be loving not just on Valentine’s Day but all year round, a Buddhist teacher tells Marjorie BrennanOpen hearts: The Buddhist approach to love and loving

More From The Irish Examiner