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Vietnam Will Sign TPP on February 4

Ahead of Tet, Vietnam and the 11 other nations involved will officially sign the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) next month in New Zealand.

According to the Straits Times, representatives from each of the TPP nations will meet in Auckland on February 4 to sign the sweeping free trade agreement. While this signals an important step forward for the TPP and its signatories, the process isn't over yet.

“Following signature, all 12 countries will be able to begin their respective domestic ratification processes and will have up to two years to complete that before the agreement enters into force,” New Zealand trade minister Todd McClay told media outlets.

This is the tricky part: the signed document must be ratified without any changes by each of the signatory governments.

For its part, Vietnam seems prepared to move forward, though VietnamNet's headline – “TPP may be officially signed on February 2” – seems less certain of this fact, in addition to mistaking the date of the signing.

Deputy director of the Multilateral Trade Policy Department Nguyen Quynh Nga, however, confirmed with VietnamNet the February 4 date, saying the Vietnamese government is “preparing documentation for the signing”.

While the TPP is significant for all nations involved – the deal will affect roughly 40% of the global economy – it's particularly big for Vietnam, whom many media outlets have been quick to proclaim the winner of the free trade agreement. According to US Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles H. Rivkin, Vietnam's GDP could grow by as much as 30% thanks to the TPP.

There are, however, also some fierce opponents of the deal, many of whom take issue with the increased power given to corporations under the new trade agreement. In Vietnam, the agriculture sector is expected to face the most difficulty in adjusting to the TPP deal.

Vietnam is also signing free trade agreements with South Korea, the European Union and the ASEAN Economic Community in an effort to expand trade relations abroad, a move which has turned the heads of foreign investors and ignited interest in Vietnam. If all goes to plan, the TPP and Vietnam's other trade agreements could have a major effect on the country's economic restructuring.

[Photo via VTV]