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Biggest ever trade deal signed as US seeks to counter China

Demonstrators and police come face to face as they close down streets in Auckland to protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement on February 3, 2016The biggest trade deal in history was signed Thursday, yoking 12 Pacific rim countries in a US-led initiative aimed at wresting influence from booming China. The ambitious Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) aims to slash tariffs and trade barriers for an enormous 40 percent of the global economy — but pointedly does not include Beijing. “TPP allows America — and not countries like China — to write the rules of the road in the 21st century,” US President Barack Obama said after the pact was signed in New Zealand.

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