Trans-Pacific Partnership officially sealed

Economic ministers from 12 member nations signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in Auckland, New Zealand on the morning of February 4.

Trans-Pacific Partnership officially sealed

At the signing ceremony, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said his country was proud to be the host and an active member throughout the negotiation process.

The TPP will help liberalise trade across the region and bring benefits to all members, he said.

US President Barack Obama also welcomed the signing of the pact.

Member states now have two years to complete domestic work for TPP ratification. The pact will take effect when ratified by parliaments of least six signatory countries, who comprise a minimum of 85% of all members’ overall GDP. This means that the two biggest economies – the US and Japan – must be among these six members.

The TPP started out as P-4 with Chile, New Zealand, Singapore and Mexico. The US joined in September 2008 and Vietnam in early 2009. The deal now brings together 12 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam.

The pact aims to break down trade and investment barriers between these countries comprising 800 million people, which constitute 30% of global trade and about 40% of the world’s economy.

TPP negotiations began in March 2010 and concluded in October 2015 after 19 rounds. The full-text of the deal was released a month later. Most contents of the agreement have remained unchanged by members apart from some technical aspects.

Vietnam is expected to see significant benefits from the TPP as the pact is projected to help expand the country’s GDP by USS$23.5 billion by 2020 and USS$33.5 billion by 2025. Domestic sectors producing apparel, footwear and timber will be among the beneficiaries. However, challenges stemming from local economic scale and quality compared to other members are likely to pose a problem.