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SYDNEY, February 4. /TASS/. Trade ministers of 12 countries signed the Agreement on creation of a new regional economic union - the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The document was inked by representatives of Australia, Brunei, Vietnam, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the US, Singapore, Chile and Japan in Auckland (New Zealand).
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade pact, which implies total abolition of duties on goods and services within the Asian-Pacific region. The ratification of the agreement by all member-states is expected to take around 2 years, after which it will come into force.
The formation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership will not seriously affect Russia’s trade relations with member-states of the new regional union as "the countries involved account for not more than 10% of our trade", Deputy Economic Development Stanislav Vosknesensky said in an interview aired by the Rossiya-24 TV news channel, adding though that "many companies from various countries will still have to adjust to new rules, especially regarding non-energy goods."
Kremlin considers it impossible to give forecasts on whether the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) being created now will serve as an alternative to the already existing Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which includes Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday, adding that Russia’s view on TPP remains unchanged.
The APEC forum was established in 1989 and now comprises 19 countries: Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, the US, Thailand, Philippines, South Korea, Japan, China, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Russia, Vietnam and Peru as well as 2 Chinese territories - Hong Kong and Thailand.
When answering the question whether TPP will be competing against APEC, Peskov said: "We don’t know this, it’s a question to participants of the union."
Earlier Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with TASS that formation of such unions as the Trans-Pacific Partnership as closed groups will only intensify the global economic imbalance. "If they are certain closed groups finally this will result not in tackling but in intensification of imbalances in the global economy," he said, adding that Russia opposes such imbalances.