11 Jun 2008

New Zealand calls on US to join new Asia - Pacific grouping quickly

3:16 pm on 11 June 2008

New Zealand has called on the United States today to seek early membership in a budding Asia-Pacific grouping so that it could maintain influence in the rapidly growing region.

The grouping, called the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, or "P4", is a model free trade agreement involving Singapore, Chile New Zealand and Brunei.

The New Zealand Trade Minister, Phil Goff, says joining the P4 is an important way for the US to be fully engaged in the Asia-Pacific region.

Mr Goff says the US had expressed interest in the P4 agreement, and that US membership would provide the critical mass necessary to establish the grouping as a "corner-stone" of regional integration efforts.