Pacific nations sign TPP trade deal

Wellington, Feb 4 (IANS) The Trans Pacific Partnership, one of the biggest multinational trade deals ever, was signed by ministers from its 12 member nations in New Zealand on Thursday.

The trade deal looks to facilitate investment between the 12 countries across the Pacific Rim, which together account for about 40 percent of the global economy, BBC reported.

The US-led initiative was agreed in October 2015 after years of negotiations and multiple missed deadlines.

Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb was the first to sign the pact. Those attending the ceremony cheered as his New Zealand counterpart, Todd McClay, added the last signature.

The TPP involves Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the US.

However, the TPP continues to face opposition.

Those against the deal, particularly some Americans, fear it could mean jobs will move from the US to developing countries.

In the lead up to Thursday’s signing, the streets around Auckland’s central business district were disrupted by groups blocking access to the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Police clashed with some protesters, who have widely claimed the deal will benefit big business rather than workers.

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