The TPP was ratified by Trade Minister Todd McClay who said it was to keep “options open” and send a clear message that New Zealand saw “value in a common set of high-quality rules across the Asia-Pacific”.
Japan has also ratified the TPP. However, the trading partnership was placed in jeopardy when US President Donald Trump formally withdrew from the process in January of this year.
Other signatories – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam – are expected to also ratify the TPP soon. However, despite ratifying it, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said a TPP without the US would be “meaningless”.
In order for TPP to actually happen, it has to be ratified by February 2018 by at least six countries that account for 85% of the group’s economic output, which may prove difficult without the US. There are currently suggestions that a new deal may be worked out with those in favour of TPP.
The ratification was welcomed by the New Zealand meat industry. In a joint statement, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) said progressing “makes complete sense”.
“It makes complete sense that the government has continued with the process of ratifying TPP, which other key TPP members have also done, such as Japan,” said Sam McIvor, CEO of B+LNZ. “This positions New Zealand well to take a leadership role in the continued discussions about the future of TPP.”
Tim Ritchie, CEO of the MIA, added: “While the red meat sector would ideally like to see a TPP agreement that includes the United States, there is also considerable value for our sector from the implementation of the agreement without the US. Japan, in particular, is a key beef market, where tariffs remain very high, and we need to regain a level playing field with key competitors. The industry also has strong interests in markets like Canada and Mexico.”