TPP: Biggest deal in history reached

AUSTRALIA and 11 other Pacific-rim nations, including Japan, the United States and Mexico, have reached the biggest trade deal in history.

After eight years of negotiations and five days of tense talks, the Trans-Pacific Partnership was agreed overnight in Atlanta.

The deal between the 12 countries includes 40% of the world's trade and will eliminate 98% of tariffs between those involved.

While the final talks were slowed over measures governing "exclusivity periods" for biologic medicines, a stand-off on the issue was resolved overnight.

The Obama Administration had wanted at least eight year exclusivity periods, but finally agreed to Australia's preference of five-year periods.

It would mean the price of subsidised medicines sold in Australia should not be affected by the deal.

Trade Minister Andrew Robb said the deal would help boost Australian exports across higher education, agriculture, manufacturing and resources.

He said the deal would abolish tariffs of resources between TPP countries and reduce tariffs on beef exports to Japan to 9%, while Japanese levies on Australian sugar would be cut and tariffs removed.

While the deal includes trading partners including Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the US; China was not party to the deal.

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