14 May 2009

Trade Minister optimistic about deal with US

8:47 am on 14 May 2009

Trade Minister Tim Groser says he is confident New Zealand can strike a free trade deal with the United States.

Mr Groser is in Washington for four days of talks.

His meetings follow a decision by the US government to postpone March negotiations to join a regional free trade deal involving New Zealand.

Mr Groser is due to meet the new US Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, on Friday morning (NZT) and says the talks should indicate if a deal including New Zealand is on track.

He says he is confident the new administration will honour the commitment of former President George Bush to join the five-country Trans-Pacific free trade deal.

But both free trade and anti-free trade advocates say the deal will be difficult to get past US legislators, even with the support of the Obama administration.