Australia signs Trans-Pacific Partnership with 11 countries
PACIFIC nation ministers and negotiators have locked in a major Pacific trade deal after days of marathon talks in the US city of Atlanta.
The 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership covers 40 per cent of the global economy and could reshape industries and influence everything from the price of cheese to the cost of cancer treatments.
A ministerial press conference to announce a deal was originally scheduled for Monday morning, Australian time, as reports emerged of a deal between Australia and the United States on intellectual property rules for new-generation medicines, but was subsequently delayed.
Japan's prime minister said late on Monday evening a dozen nations had reached "broad agreement" on the TPP, which aims to service the world's largest free-trade zone.
"It is a major outcome not just for Japan but also for the future of the Asia-Pacific," Shinzo Abe told reporters.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull attempted to head off the controversey that surrounds the partnership with a statement this morning.
He said: "Importantly, the TPP will not require any changes to Australia's intellectual property laws or policies, whether in copyright, pharmaceutical patents or enforcement".
"Australia's five years of data protection for biological medicines will remain unchanged.
"The TPP will not increase the price of medicines in Australia."