New Zealand ratifies Pacific trade deal after US withdrawal

New Zealand has become the second nation after Japan to ratify a Pacific trade deal that will need changes to proceed after the United States pulled out.

Trade Minister Todd McClay said Thursday that New Zealand is exploring alternatives for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and that ratifying the deal helps keep its options open.

President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the 12-nation deal immediately after taking office in January after campaigning against it.

In its current form, the deal requires U.S. participation before it can go into effect.

McClay said New Zealand expects other nations to ratify the agreement in the coming months.

New Zealand's ratification comes ahead of a trip by Prime Minister Bill English next week to Japan, where he will meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.