The Trans Pacific Partnership is going to pay off for decades to come, President Barack Obama said.

The US President was speaking today at a meeting in Manila of the 12 member countries including Prime Minister John Key.

"This is the highest standard and most progressive trade deal ever concluded," he said.

It was not easy, he said and he congratulated leaders on what he called their "extraordinary leadership."

Advertisement

Mr Obama was speaking at the first leaders' meeting of the 12 TPP countries since the deal was concluded last month.

The deal cannot be signed before February 3, which is the end of the US Congress 90-day review period of the deal.

"Today we are going to discuss the road ahead to ensure TPP is enacted in our countries as swiftly as possible," Mr Obama said.

"Obviously execution is critical after we have arrived at the text and just want to once again commend all the leaders here for their extraordinary leadership .

"This is not easy to do. The politics of any trade agreement are difficult.

The fact that everybody here stepped up and made some hard decisions that are going to pay off for decades to come I think is a testimony to the vision that was reflected.

I want to congratulate you all for outstanding work."

Mr Obama said the TPP deal included strong protections for workers, prohibitions against child labour and forced labour, provisions to protect the environment, to help stop wild-life trafficking, and to protect our oceans. "These are enforceable provisions that can be brought to bear much as the same way any provisions related to tariffs can be dealt with and as a consequence, this is not only a good deal economically, it also reflects our common values."

TPP included countries large and small, developed and developing but they had a shared vision of how to move forward.

"TPP is at the heart of our shared vision for the future of this dynamic region.

"We want all countries to pursue their interests and prosperity peacefully based on common rules of the road on an open, level playing field of fair trade."

The TPP countries comprised nearly 40 per cent of global gdp and one third of global trade.

"So this isn't about boosting exports between our countries in the Asia Pacific. The TPP is also helping to write the rules of global trade for the 21st century."

Before the meeting began the 12 leaders posed for a "TPP family photo" before joining their trade ministers for a larger session.

Trade Minister Tim Groser was beside Mr Key on one side of the large meeting with Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto and minister on the other side.

Concluding the Trans Pacific Partnership has been the No 1 trade policy objective of the Obama Administration before the next presidential elections in a year's time.

After five years of negotiation, they wrapped up in Atlanta in early October.

Mr Key said in Manila yesterday that any other Apec that wanted to join the TPP and meet the standards set in the agreement should be allowed to join.