SYDNEY -- The 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement will come into force on Dec. 30, the pact's secretariat New Zealand announced on Wednesday.
Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker said that six member states have ratified the pact. The trade deal takes effect 60 days after at least six countries complete the ratification process. It will come into force on Dec. 30, Parker said. This would be half a month sooner than previously expected.
Nicknamed the TPP-11, the agreement was once known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership but was formally renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership last year.
Australia notified New Zealand on Wednesday that it has ratified the agreement. Mexico, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand and Canada had already completed the procedures. Vietnam's parliament is expected to approve the deal by mid-November.
Once the trade pact comes into force, a TPP committee of ministerial-level officials from member states will meet and decide on needed steps for countries hoping to join, such as Thailand and the U.K.
The TPP-11 will lower tariffs on agricultural and industrial goods, as well as unify rules for business. Tariffs on 99.9% of Japan's industrial products and 98.5% of its farm, forestry and seafood products will eventually be abolished. Tariffs on agricultural products exported from Australia and New Zealand to Japan will also go down.
Japan, which took the lead in negotiations after President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement in 2017, has been pushing to put the deal into effect quickly.