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At the start of February, New Zealand hosted the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Years of negotiation now open up 800 million potential customers to our exporters. TPP is expected to enter into force within two years, once countries have completed their domestic implementation processes.

The 12 countries involved in TPP make up 36 per cent of the world economy. New Zealand sells around $28 billion worth of goods and services to other TPP countries each year. The agreement includes Japan and the United States, two of the three largest economies in the world, which successive governments have tried to get a free-trade deal with for 25 years.

This is a big deal for a small country such as New Zealand that relies on trade to grow its economy. It further builds on the Government’s wider plan to diversify and strengthen our economy, support more jobs, and provide more opportunities for Kiwis to get ahead. It will be Kiwi businesses and innovators that seize these opportunities – and we have plenty of these in TKC. The savings they will make mean there will be more money available to grow their businesses, lift wages, and employ more people in our community.

All this is expected to be worth at least $2.7 billion a year to New Zealand by 2030. We know from the free trade agreement with China that these figures are likely to be underestimated. Two-way trade with China exploded after that deal was signed.

Many concerns raised previously about TPP are not reflected in the final agreement. Consumers will not pay more for subsidised medicines as a result of TPP. There will be no change to the PHARMAC model. There are high hurdles for investor-state dispute settlement claims. This agreement does not have any impact on New Zealand’s sovereignty.

The opportunities that TPP presents are going to be a real boost for the Kiwi economy, for which the industries in the Waipa are immensely valuable.

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