Trade Minister Tim Groser says New Zealand is ready to conclude a TransPacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal that includes the United States by the middle of next year.
Mr Groser says such a speedy resolution would suit New Zealand.
The deadline for a deal had been set for an APEC meeting now under way in Honolulu but Radio New Zealand's economics correspondent, who is at the meeting, says that was scuppered by slow progress on issues sensitive to the United States' such as access to its dairy markets.
Mr Groser says there is now talk that in the next 48 hours the US may set a target to conclude the deal by the middle of next year.
"They want to maintain momentum," Mr Groser says, "and so do we, after all the disappointments of the Doha round."
He says dragging out the talks will not make a deal any easier.
As well as New Zealand and the US, the TPP negotiations involve Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.