15 Nov 2011

More countries consider entering TPP talks

7:37 am on 15 November 2011

The momentum behind a proposed trans-Pacific trade deal has attracted more interest, with Canada and Mexicio following Japan in considering joining the talks.

The leaders of the nine Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, countries at the annual summit in Honolulu believe they have nutted out a deal which will result in a phasing out of tariffs and other trade barriers from next year.

The deal involves economies that account for more than half the APEC region's gross domestic product but any deal will have to tackle a key goal for New Zealand - the opening up of agricultural markets, which are traditionally heavily protected.

New Zealand-US Council executive director Stephen Jacobi says a lot of progress has been made this week in pushing the Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP, talks.

"It's very good news for New Zealand because it means that there's a rising tide with TPP and a lot of political momentum now gathering. Clearly the nine partners are very focussed on finishing this negotiation next year," he says.

Despite the aim to finalise the proposed deal by next year, Trade Minister Tim Groser says it will be some time before the benefits flow through to New Zealanders.

He says once a deal is reached, there would then be a complicated ratification process.

The nine countries involved in the TPP are Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.