TPPA trade deal signing confirmed for New Zealand

Critics of the TPPA have expressed concerns about whether the deal will undermine New Zealand's sovereignty.
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Critics of the TPPA have expressed concerns about whether the deal will undermine New Zealand's sovereignty.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) free trade deal will be signed in New Zealand early next month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed.

News of the signing leaked out last week when Andres Rebolledo, director general of Chile's economic relations bureau, confirmed the 12-nation free trade agreement would be signed on February 4, the International Trade Daily reported.

While the Government said at the time details were still being finalised, Mfat has now confirmed that New Zealand is set to host the TPPA signing event in Auckland, some time in early February.

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An Mfat spokesman said specific arrangements were yet to be finalised, as "each country has a different process in relation to domestic requirements to be able to sign a trade agreement".

The TPPA still needs to be approved by each nation's parliament, and there have been suggestions that the United States may struggle to get politicians to sign off on the deal.

In New Zealand, TPPA opponents have expressed concerns about the secrecy around the agreement, as well as whether there could be increased medicines costs due to intellectual property provisions.

However, Prime Minister John Key welcomed news of the deal when it was finalised in October last year, saying it would give Kiwi exporters much better access to a market of more than 800 million people with expected financial benefits of at least NZ$2.7 billion a year by 2030.

"As a country, we won't get rich selling things to ourselves. Instead, we need to sell more of our products and services to customers around the world, and TPP helps makes that happen."

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