The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a free trade agreement (FTA) designed to liberalise trade and investment between 12 Pacific-rim countries: New Zealand, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Viet Nam.
TPP would give New Zealand better access to globally significant markets. It would diversify New Zealand's trade and investment relationships, and provide a platform to build on the NZ$28 billion of New Zealand goods and services exported to TPP countries in 2014.
TPP would also set a new standard for trade and investment in the Asia Pacific region, generating substantial long-term economic and strategic benefits for New Zealand and promoting the growth of regional supply chains.
The concluded TPP Agreement was signed in February 2016. New Zealand, which is the depository for the TPP, ratified the Agreement in May 2017. Japan has also ratified it.
However, the TPP Agreement cannot enter into force until it is also ratified by four other signatories including the United States which notified it does not intend to become a Party to the Agreement.
The remaining 11 countries are exploring options to bring the TPP Agreement into force amongst themselves. More information can be found here. [external link]
New Zealand released a version of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, on behalf of the 12 members of the TPP and in its capacity as Depositary of the Agreement, on 5 November 2015. The final text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was released on 26 January 2016.
Following signature of TPP (which was not of itself legally binding) in February 2016, TPP signatories turned their focus to their respective domestic processes necessary to ratify TPP.
As with all New Zealand FTAs, TPP underwent Parliamentary treaty examination. This involved the final text of the agreement, together with a National Interest Analysis, being presented to Parliament for examination by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee. The Committee released its report [external link] on 4 May 2016.
Following this, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Amendment Bill [external link] was introduced to the House of Representatives on 9 May 2016. The Bill, which introduced the legislative amendments necessary for New Zealand to ratify TPP, went through Parliamentary procedures, including select committee scrutiny. The Bill was passed on 15 November and received Royal Assent on 21 November.
The New Zealand Government is continuing the work necessary for New Zealand to ratify the Agreement. The TPP agreement itself cannot be modified unilaterally by New Zealand, but there is some flexibility in the way various measures can be implemented through domestic legislation and regulation.
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