APEC head and former Reserve Bank governor Alan Bollard says he thinks the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free-trade deal will be signed soon.
The partnership involving 12 countries, including New Zealand and the United States, has been in negotiation for five years.
Dr Bollard, who is the executive director of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) secretariat in Singapore, said many of the difficult areas under negotiation had been worked through this year.
He said people should not be worried about the deal.
"Opening up these economies around the APEC region over the last 25 years has brought a quarter of a billion of people out of poverty," he said.
"You tell me where else that's happened in the world's history and whether or not that's a good thing.
"This is moving on to a new sort of level but I think there's going to be big welfare-enhancing outcome."
Trade Minister Tim Groser has estimated there is a 70 percent chance of passing the TPP in the next few months.
Opponents of the deal have said, if it is not passed by the middle of this year, it is likely to stall for the next 18 months because of the election season in the US.