Trade ministers from 12 Asia-Pacific countries have officially signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The trade agreement was signed in Auckland, New Zealand and was attended by Vietnam’s Industry and Trade Minister Vu Huy Hoang.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key delivered an opening speech at the signing ceremony. He said the TPP was a very significant trade pact and that New Zealand was proud of being part of the agreement.
Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb was the first to sign the pact and his counterpart, New Zealand trade minister Todd McClay inked the last signature.
While the signing has been an “historical achievement” for the Asia-Pacific region, according to Mr McClay, completing the signing ceremony does not mean that the trade deal has come into effect.
All 12 member states will have up to 2 years to ratify the trade agreement by gaining approval from their respective legislative bodies. The TPP will only be implemented if at least six countries approve the final text of the deal.
Vietnam’s Hoang said the trade pact appeared to be a “balanced deal” and Vietnam appreciated the participation of the other nations.
U.S trade representative Michael Froman expressed his confidence that the US Congress will approve the deal.
The trade agreement encompasses 12 nations - Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States, Mexico, Japan, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Chile, Peru and Vietnam.
As the largest free trade agreement in the last 20 years, the TPP is expected to help improve living standards, reduce poverty, encourage transparency, operational efficiency and improve the protection of workers and the environment.