The US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), one of the biggest trade deals in history, was signed in New Zealand on yesterday by all 12 member nations amid loud protests. While New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and US Trade Representative Mike Froman led the ceremony at Auckland’s Sky City Convention Centre, protesters blocked roads outside. The ambitious pact aims to break down trade and investment barriers between countries comprising about 40 % of the global economy, while its critics argue it will cost jobs and impact on sovereignty in Asia-Pacific states.
“Today is a significant day, not only for New Zealand but for the other 11 countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Mr Key said. US President Barack Obama immediately hailed the signing, saying the TPP would give the United States an advantage over other leading economies, namely China.”TPP allows America – and not countries like China – to write the rules of the road in the 21st century, which is especially important in a region as dynamic as the Asia-Pacific,” Mr Obama said in a statement from Washington.
Although the signing marks the end of the negotiating process, the member countries still have two years to get the deal approved at home before it takes effect.”We will encourage all countries to complete their domestic ratification processes as quickly as possible,” Mr Key said. “TPP will provide much better access for goods and services to more than 800 million people across the TPP countries, which make up 36% of global GDP.”
The agreement was signed by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.