Trans-Pacific Partnership signed

By Sarah Harvey

Dairy farmers in Canada protest the TPP before the agreement was signed.REUTERS/Chris Wattie
Dairy farmers in Canada protest the TPP before the agreement was signed.REUTERS/Chris Wattie

New Zealand, Australia and 10 other Pacific Rim countries have agreed on the Trans-Pacific Partnership in what is being called the largest regional trade agreement in history.

According to the New York Times  the agreement – settled this week after nearly eight years of negotiations – is a potentially precedent-setting model for global commerce and worker standards that will tie together 40 percent of the world’s economy, from Canada and Chile to Japan and the United States and Australasia.

It will strip thousands of trade tariffs in the region and set common labour, environmental and legal standards among signatories.

The agreement, though, has caused massive protests throughout nations during heated negotiations.

In August thousands of New Zealanders marched against the agreement saying the government wasn’t involving New Zealanders in what was a massive decision for the country. There were concerns about the cost of medicines rising. Those concerns have since been allayed after Australian officials dug their heels in and fought for Australasia to keep medicine costs down.

The full, 30-chapter, text of the agreement will not be available for about a month but already unions, environmentalists and liberal activists are set to argue the agreement favours big business over workers and environmental protection.

But, Paul Bloxham, Australia and New Zealand chief economist for HSBC told while there were drawbacks in the deal in some key areas, in particular meat and dairy, it would boost trade for both sides of the Tasman.

ExportNZ said the agreement would lead to the elimination of tariffs on 93 per cent of exports to  the United States, Japan, Canada, Mexico, and Peru.



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