Watch 5 facts: Why Trans-Pacific Partnership is the biggest trade deal in history
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a massive trade deal between 12 pacific-rim countries - the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
Together these countries account for nearly 40% of global output and 26% of world trade. That makes the TPP one of the biggest trade deals in human history.
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Although the TPP has been in negotiations for quite some time, it was formally signed on 4 February in New Zealand.
The TPP promises to increase wealth and incomes in the United States and create new jobs while facilitating and protecting trans-national investment and trade. The deal is likely to be the economic pillar of the US strategy of rebalancing towards Asia.
The TPP has to be ratified by the legislatures of the participating countries before it is implemented. Two years have been provided for ratification.
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The ratification process is not going to be easy in the United States in the middle of a Presidential election year. At least six of the participating countries, accounting for 85% of the GDP of all the signatories, have to ratify the deal within two years for it to come into effect.
China, despite being a Pacific-rim country and the largest economy in the world, is not a part of the TPP. Many suggest that the deal seeks to isolate China as Beijing and Washington vie for influence in the Asia-Pacific.
China, however, has given a cautious welcome to the deal. It is expected that it will apply to join the TPP at a future date.
Video editing: Andrew Clarance
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