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TPP bill back in parliament

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 27/10/2016

The bill that will allow the government to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement is back in parliament and ready to go through its remaining stages.

The foreign affairs, defence and trade select committee reported the bill back on Thursday - against the wishes of Labour and the Greens.

The bill amends 10 Acts to align New Zealand law with its obligations under the TPP, which the government signed in February along with 11 other nations.

The committee made minor changes and reported it back on a majority vote.

Labour and the Greens put in minority reports.

"As it stands, we cannot support the ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, thus we oppose the passage of this bill," said Labour, which has disagreed with it from the start.

The Greens said the bill was flawed because it relied on a misleading analysis of New Zealand's interests.

"The Green Party calls on the government to withhold ratification... we call for a fundamental review of trade and investment policy," it said.

The agreement covers 40 per cent of global trade and 800 million people.

To take effect it must be ratified by at least six countries that account for 85 per cent of the group's economic output, which makes the United States essential.

Ratification by the US if far from certain and both presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, have said they oppose it.

However, President Barack Obama is a strong supporter and hopes it can be ratified by the US Congress during the so-called lame duck period between the presidential election on November 8 and the inauguration of the new president on January 20.

The partner countries are New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

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