3 Dec 2012

48 signatories endorse TPP talks

11:34 pm on 3 December 2012

Some of the country's biggest firms have endorsed New Zealand's involvement in Pacific Rim trade talks in a letter to Prime Minister John Key.

In total, 48 companies and business organisations have swung in behind the TransPacific Partnership as the latest round of talks got underway in Auckland on Monday.

The companies that signed the letter include Fonterra, Fletcher Building, ASB Bank and Silver Fern Farms, as well as major business lobbies.

The group says a deal eliminating barriers to exports would be of great benefit to the country.

It acknowledges potential challenges to the way New Zealand governs itself from the 11-country talks.

But it says it has confidence in Trade Minister Tim Groser and his negotiators, to only sign if it is in New Zealand's best interests.

The endorsement follows an earlier letter from more than 100 lawyers led by Auckland University's Jane Kelsey opposing the trade talks.