The red meat sector has welcomed the ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
New Zealand is now the fourth country to complete its domestic ratification process, along with Mexico, Singapore, and Japan.
The agreement required at least six of the 11 member countries to ratify the agreement before it could come into force.
Once the CPTPP came into force, it would be one of the largest free trade agreements in the world, and would present massive opportunities for the New Zealand sheep and beef sector given its export focus, Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive Sam McIvor said.
New Zealand's sheep and beef sector exports approximately 90 per cent of its production, totalling $9.3 billion for the 2017/18 season (including wool and co-products).
"Our sector pays over $230 million in tariffs - with a significant proportion of those tariffs applied on New Zealand beef exports to Japan. Once the CPTPP is fully implemented, it is expected to save the sector approximately $63 million in tariffs," McIvor said.
In the absence of the CPTPP, New Zealand had been losing significant market share in countries where its competitors had preferential access - particularly Australia's beef access into Japan.
The CPTPP would immediately put New Zealand's red meat sector on a level playing field, he said.
Australia's beef exports to Japan have increased by a cumulative $1 billion since its free trade agreement came into force, which has resulted in New Zealand losing out on about $53 million worth of beef exports to Japan over the same period.
The CPTPP will also prevent Japan from imposing a safeguard tariff on New Zealand beef like it did last year on frozen beef, raising the tariff to 50 per cent.
The agreement will give New Zealand a competitive advantage over the United States beef industry, which will continue to face either the 38.5 per cent tariff or the higher 50 per cent tariff if the safeguards are triggered again.
The US was part of the original Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, but withdrew in 2017, requiring the remaining members to negotiate and agree the CPTPP.