BIG STEP

Pacific Nations Sign TPP Trade Deal

The controversial Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal was signed by ministers from its 12 member nations amid protests in Auckland, New Zealand on Thursday. The massive trade pact, which has been five years in the making, creates a free trade zone among 12 Pacific nations and excludes China. President Barack Obama has argued the pact helps secure American influence in the Pacific and gives the U.S. more power in setting the rules of global trade. The member nations, which account for some 40 percent of the world's economy, now have two years to ratify or reject the deal.