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Trade ministers mull future of TPP

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/05/2017

Todd McClay. © Fiona Goodall/Getty Images Todd McClay. A meeting of trade ministers in Vietnam is a chance for the 11 remaining countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to decide what happens next, says New Zealand's Trade Minister.

Todd McClay is in Vietnam for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting of trade ministers, where he will also co-chair a meeting on the next steps for the TPP.

Twelve countries that border the Pacific Ocean signed up to the TPP in 2016, representing roughly 40 per cent of the world's economic output.

The pact aimed to cut tariffs and foster trade but all 12 nations needed to ratify it before it could come into effect.

US President Donald Trump has withdrawn the US from the TPP, keeping a campaign promise.

Mr McClay says the meeting in Vietnam follows a successful visit to Japan with Prime Minister Bill English where Japan and New Zealand firmly committed to work together to progress TPP11.

"This TPP meeting will be important for the future of the agreement. This is a chance for the 11 remaining countries to collectively decide upon a process for next steps," he says.

"New Zealand recently joined Japan in ratifying TPP because the agreement still has real value to the Asia-Pacific both strategically and economically," he says.

The Asia-Pacific is the world's fastest growing region and it consumes more than 70 per cent of New Zealand's exports.

"That's a big part of why fighting for a common set of high-quality rules that will secure lower tariffs and better access for our exporters is so important."

Mr McClay will also meet bilaterally with a number of key regional trading partners, participate in the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting and attend a separate meeting with Ministers from Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) countries.

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