23 Jul 2011

PM makes TPP priority for Obama meeting

5:47 am on 23 July 2011

Prime Minister John Key says his priority for his meeting with United States President Barack Obama will be maintaining the momentum for a Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Mr Key's White House visit, early Saturday morning (NZ time), will cap off two days of top-level meetings in Washington DC.

He says he's looking forward to meeting with President Obama, and talking about the many things the US and New Zealand have in common.

He says the meeting will canvass a number of issues, but he is making the Trans Pacific Partnership his priority.

Mr Key says he has received a positive reception when talking about the nine-country trade talks with other senior US figures, and he expects the same response from the President.

Mr Key acknowledges there is a lot happening in Washington, as US lawmakers continue to grapple with the debt ceiling.

Hurdles for TPP - Congressman

A Congressman who the Prime Minister describes as a great supporter of New Zealand says the Trans Pacific Partnership still has hurdles to overcome.

House Representative Rick Larsen met with Mr Key in Washington on Friday morning.

Mr Larsen is a supporter of the trade talks, but admits there are differences over intellectual property and New Zealand's drug buying agency, Pharmac.

He says the US dairy industry needs to look beyond competition from New Zealand, and towards the potential new market opportunities from a deal.