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TPP bill passes second reading

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/11/2016
Protesters at Aotea Square in Auckland. © Getty Images Protesters at Aotea Square in Auckland.

The bill that will allow New Zealand to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement has passed its second reading in parliament and is a step closer to becoming law.

It amends numerous Acts to bring them into line with New Zealand's obligations under the 12-nation agreement.

"All primary legislative changes that need to take place prior to TPP's entry into force are addressed in the bill," said Trade Minister Todd McClay.

"Once the bill has been passed and other regulatory changes are in place, the government will be ready to formally ratify the agreement."

It still has to pass its committee and third reading stages before becoming law.

All 12 partner nations signed the TPP in February, but ratification by all of them is far from certain.

The biggest problem is the United States, where both presidential candidates oppose it.

To come into force it must be ratified by at least six countries that account for 85 per cent of the group's economic output, meaning the US is essential.

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

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