The New Zealand International Business Forum says a new free trade agreement in Asia will give it closer ties to Japan.
The 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations and six other economies in the region including New Zealand have announced plans to negotiate an agreement known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
The forum says the deal will build on New Zealand and Australia's existing free trade agreement with ASEAN.
It will also bring the giant economies of Japan, Korea and China and India into the same network.
The forum says that Japan is now the only Asian economy with which New Zealand neither has a free trade agreement nor a negotiation under way.
Chairman Sir Graeme Harrison says a closer economic relationship with Japan would benefit both countries.