Twelve Pacific Rim states have reached the most ambitious trade pact in a generation, aiming to liberalise commerce in 40% of the world’s economy.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact struck in Atlanta could reshape industries, change the cost of products from cheese to cancer treatments, and have repercussions for drug companies and automakers.
Negotiators worked round the clock over the weekend to settle tough issues such as monopoly rights for new biotech drugs.
New Zealand’s demand for greater access for its dairy exports was only settled at 9am yesterday.
If approved, the pact would cut trade barriers and set common standards for a region stretching from Vietnam to Canada.
It would also furnish a legacy-shaping victory for US president Barack Obama, who will further promote the agreement today in remarks to business leaders in Washington.
The Obama administration hopes the pact will help the US increase its influence in East Asia and help counter the rise of China, which is not one of the TPP nations.
However, many of Obama’s Democrats, as well as labour groups, fear the TPP will cost manufacturing jobs and weaken environmental laws.
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