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Australia approves TPP-11; raises chance for pact to take effect in 2019

Australia's senate on Oct. 17 passed legislation to approve the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership, a US$10-trillion trade pact among 11 nations, Nikkei Asian Review reported Oct. 17. This makes Australia the fourth country to ratify the deal and raises the likelihood of the pact taking effect in early 2019.

Mexico, Japan and Singapore have ratified the TPP-11 agreement, formally known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would cover 15% of global trade. The revised deal was forged in March after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2017 saying "bilateral deals are far more efficient, profitable and better" for the U.S.

New Zealand and Vietnam are expected to approve the agreement in the coming weeks, rounding out the required six nations for the pact to take effect.

The TPP-11 has taken on new significance as a pact against protectionism amid rising trade tensions between the U.S. and China. It serves as a "strong signal of our commitment to trade liberalization and a rules-based trading system," Singaporean Trade Minister Chan Chun Sing said when the country ratified the pact in July.

Colombia has filed a request to join the deal, while Thailand and Indonesia also indicated their interest in becoming signatories. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also reportedly said the pact would welcome the U.K. as the country looks for new trade networks following its exit from the EU.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said Australia expects A$15.6 billion in net annual benefits to national income by 2030 from the TPP-11, reported The Australian.