US, 11 other countries sign free-trade deal in New Zealand

/ 09:00 AM February 04, 2016
Andrew Robb

Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb, left, shakes hands with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key after signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement in Auckland, New Zealand, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. Trade ministers from 12 Pacific Rim countries including the United States have ceremonially signed the free-trade deal. AP

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Trade ministers from 12 Pacific Rim countries including the United States have ceremonially signed a free-trade deal.

The representatives gathered Thursday in Auckland, New Zealand, to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership.


The agreement must still be ratified by individual countries.

READ: Pacific trade agreement could cause rift in political camps


In the US, the agreement has been at the center of President Obama’s trade agenda, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not yet backed it and has suggested Congress shouldn’t vote to ratify it until after the November elections.

The agreement covers an estimated one-third of all world trade. Noticeably missing from the agreement is China, which is forging ahead with its own trade deals.

Hundreds of people in New Zealand protested the signing Thursday. Many fear it will erode sovereignty and hand too much power to US corporations.

READ: United States, 11 Pacific Rim countries reach trade deal

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TAGS: China, New Zealand, pacific rim, trade deal, US
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