The TPP would give New Zealand a free trade agreement with Japan, the worlds third-largest economy, Canada, Mexico and Peru

The TPP would give New Zealand a free trade agreement with Japan, the world's third-largest economy, Canada, Mexico and Peru

New Zealand is hopeful a TPP 11 – Trans Pacific Partnership without the US – will get the green light in November after it formally approved a negotiating mandate for the countries remaining in the deal.

The mandate, approved by the Cabinet late last week, is aimed at ensuring New Zealand businesses remain competitive in overseas markets.

The US withdrew from the free trade pact on 23 January, leaving the other 11 members in limbo: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

New Zealand says TPP11 could add $2.5bn annually to its economy and eliminate costly tariffs – saving the country's companies $222m each year – which Trade Minister Todd McClay says it cannot afford to turn its back on.

"The National-led Government remains ambitious for New Zealanders and will continue to level the export playing field through agreements like TPP 11."

New Zealand, the second country after Japan to ratify the deal, will be pushing for a minimal number of changes to the original agreement, something the remaining TPP 11 countries have agreed on.

"TPP 11 ministers have committed to moving forward with the agreement as quickly as possible," says McClay. "During a Ministerial meeting co-chaired by New Zealand in May, all countries agreed to present a proposal to TPP leaders by November this year, when they meet in Vietnam as part of the APEC leaders week."

The Trade Minister says it is imperative New Zealand continues to show leadership, along with Japan and Australia on TPP 11, in order to remain competitive.

Prime Minister Bill English told reporters last week he was optimistic TPP11 would get the green light in November. "Given the determination we see among countries to almost prove a point about free trade, we are optimistic we can get there."

Meanwhile, Australia has confirmed it will host the next official meeting in September, while New Zealand will again co-chair a TPP 11 Ministerial meeting in Vietnam in November.

The proposed TPP with 11 other Pacific Rim nations was agreed in 2015 and would have linked 40% of the global economy, or $28.1 trillion worth of GDP.

However, it was described as a "disaster" by US President Trump during his election campaign, claiming it would threaten American jobs by introducing lower-wage competition. By signing an executive order in January to withdraw from the TPP, he fulfilled one of his campaign pledges.