Government confirms TPPA trade deal signing in New Zealand on February 4
The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement free trade deal will be signed in Auckland on February 4, Trade Minister Todd McClay has confirmed.
News of the signing leaked out in early January when Andres Rebolledo, director general of Chile's economic relations bureau, confirmed the 12-nation free trade agreement would be signed on February 4.
McClay said the Government had issued invitations to TPPA ministers from the 12 countries to attend the ceremonial signing in Auckland, marking the end of the negotiating process.
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"Following signature, all 12 countries will be able to begin their respective domestic ratification processes and will have up to two years to complete that before the agreement enters into force," he said.
The Government would submit the final TPPA text and a national interest analysis to Parliament after the signing, with legislative changes to implement the deal going through "normal policy and parliamentary procedures".
McClay said the Government would be running a series of roadshows throughout the country to help the public learn more about the TPPA, and assist businesses to plan for new export opportunities when the deal came into force.
The TPPA deal would eliminate tariffs on 93 per cent of New Zealand's trade with the United States, Japan, Canada, Mexico and Peru, saving around $260 million a year, he said.
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.
Professor Jane Kelsey from Auckland University, a leading TPPA critic, is taking part in a series of public meetings leading up to the signing, with a protest planned in Auckland on the day itself.