Ministers from the 12 countries involved in the TPP officially sign the agreement in Auckland, New Zealand, on February 4.
Australia’s Trade Minister Andrew Robb was the first to put pen to paper on the TPP on January 4 and applause rang out as New Zealand’s Trade Minister Todd McClay was the last to initial the agreement.
Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang signed off on behalf of the Vietnamese Government.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the TPP would prompt trade liberalization and create more favorable conditions for trade across the Asia-Pacific region and bring benefits to all 12 members.
Each country now has a two-year period to implement internal processes and complete ratification for the TPP to take effect.
The agreement will be only effective if at least six countries, which must account for 85 per cent of total GDP of all 12 countries, approve it. Which in effect means the US and Japan must ratify it.
The TPP includes 12 countries: Canada, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Australia, the US, Japan, and Vietnam. It was formed with the primary objective of eliminating tariffs and barriers on the trade of goods and services between members.
It also unifies many laws and general rules among these countries, such as on intellectual property, food quality, and workplace safety.
The agreement includes 30 chapters on not only traditional matters such as goods, services, and investment but also new issues such as e-commerce and improvements to supply chains.
The TPP will present many opportunities for Vietnam, which is spoken of as one of the major beneficiaries, especially in the fields of textiles, footwear and furniture. It will also pose challenges for the country in regards to low competitiveness in terms of products, enterprises, human resources, and corporate governance.