Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside Auckland's Sky City Convention Centre in New Zealand on 4 February, to protest against the signing of one of the biggest trade deals in history.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) involves 12 countries who are aiming to deepen economic ties, cutting down on tariffs and cultivating trade to advance their growth. The countries involved in the deal are Japan, Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Mexico, Canada, Peru, Brunei, Chile, the United States and Malaysia, all of whom say that they to want to break down trade and investment barriers between countries, who collectively control 40% of the global economy.

Yet although the deal is aimed at liberalising trade across the countries, not all of the industries and sectors involved will benefit as much as others. For instance, labour groups are concerned that the deal would result in jobs leaving developed economies such as the US and being sent to countries with lower wages and less strict labour laws. There is also the risk that it will cost jobs and impact the supremacy of the Asia-Pacific countries.

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Anti-TPP protestors perform the Haka outside the Sky City Convention Centre in Auckland, New ZealPhil Walter/ Getty Images
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An anti-TPP protestor holds a megaphone as people gather outside the Sky City Convention Centre ahead of the signing of the document in Auckland, New ZealandPhil Walter/ Getty Images
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A protestor goes to hug a policeman outside the Sky City Convention Centre ahead of the TPP signing in Auckland, New ZealandPhil Walter/ Getty Images
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Protestors confront the police outside the Sky City Convention Centre ahead of the TPP signing in Auckland, New ZealandPhil Walter/ Getty Images
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Australia's Minister of Trade and Investment Andrew Robb (L) with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key (R) after signing the Trans Pacific Partnership at Sky City in Auckland, New ZealandFiona Goodall/ Getty Images
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Anti-TPP protestors outside the Sky City Convention Centre ahead of the signing of the document in Auckland, New ZealandPhil Walter/ Getty Images

The trade deal was signed at the Sky City centre in Auckland while campaigners protested outside, holding banners with "people before profit" and "citizens stand together to end corporate power", claiming that the deal was made under secretive negotiations in which governments were said to be seeking to bring in the changes without voters' knowledge.

The signing saw trade representatives including New Zealand's trade minister Todd McClay, Japan's state minister of cabinet office Shuichi Takatori, Australia's trade minister Andrew Robb and US trade representative Mike Froman attend the ceremony. Australia's minister for trade Andrew Robb was the first to sign the pact.

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A man stands sits on a bamboo pole as anti TPP protests block intersections outside the Sky City Convention Centre in Auckland, New ZealandPhil Walter/ Getty Images
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Protestors outside the Sky City Convention Centre ahead of the TPP signing in Auckland, New ZealandPhil Walter/ Getty Images
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Police patrol the Sky City Convention Centre ahead of the TPP signing in Auckland, New ZealandPhil Walter/ Getty Images
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Australia's Minister of Trade and Investment Andrew Robb signs the Trans Pacific Partnership at Sky City in Auckland, New ZealandFiona Goodall/ Getty Images
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Protestors outside the Sky City Convention Centre ahead of the TPP signing in Auckland, New ZealandPhil Walter/ Getty Images
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Protestors confront the police outside the Sky City Convention Centre ahead of the TPP signing in Auckland, New ZealandPhil Walter/ Getty Images
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A protestors smokes cannabis outside the Sky City Convention Centre ahead of the TPP signing in Auckland, New ZealandPhil Walter/ Getty Images
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An anti-TPP protestor waits outside the Sky City Convention Centre ahead of the signing of the document in Auckland, New ZealandPhil Walter/ Getty Images
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A woman stands on a bamboo pole, as anti-TPP protests block intersections outside the Sky City Convention Centre in Auckland, New ZealandPhil Walter/ Getty Images
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New Zealand Prime Minister John Key (C) joins ministers from 12 countries after the signing if the TPP at Sky City on February 4, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. The signing ceremony marks the end of the TPP negotiation process to create one of the world's biggest free-trade zonesFiona Goodall/ Getty Images
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Anti-TPP protestors outside the Sky City Convention Centre ahead of the signing of the document in Auckland, New ZealandPhil Walter/ Getty Images