Trans-Pacific Partnership deal back on the table
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has come back to life, with all countries except the US agreeing to continue with the trade agreement.
New Zealand co-chaired a meeting with Vietman while member countries were in Hanoi for an APEC summit.
After US President Donald Trump pulled his support of it during his opening days in office, the formerly 12-country deal looked dead in the water.
Opposition to it was one of his central planks during his campaign, with presidential rival Hillary Clinton taking the same stance.
But New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay says he's heartened by the joint statement by the remaining countries, which committed to seeing the deal through.
It's been a deal New Zealand has been a major proponent for, hosting the ceremonial signing of the deal in February last year.
"This outcome was better than we might have hoped for. It demonstrates a commitment from all 11 countries to implement the agreement which is extremely valuable for New Zealand and sets a clear path to a meeting of leaders in November of this year," Mr McClay says.
"TPP is a high-quality set of rules for the Asia-Pacific which will increase market access for our exporters and benefits our wider economy."
Senior officials will meet in Japan later this year to discuss options to bring the newly named TPP11 into force as soon as possible.
Mr McClay says the deal would mean tariff savings of $222 million each year.
Japan's National Graduate Institute of Policy Studies has estimated TPP11 will increase New Zealand's GDP by 3.4 percent and is worth an additional $2.5 billion to New Zealand's economy after 10 years, Mr McClay says.
Ironically, Prime Minister Bill English said uncertainty around Mr Trump was helping keep the deal alive.
With Mr Trump's approval ratings in freefall and growing speculation he could be removed from office or forced to resign, Mr English is holding the door open for the US to return.
"I think it's one of the incentives for the other 11 countries to keep going," the Prime Minister told The Nation on Saturday.
"The US could come back to TPP if there's a TPP operating, and if it remains basically unchanged from the one that the US negotiated."