Prime Minister John Key says the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations could be wrapped up in the next six months and put in front of the various parliaments of the 12 nations spanning the Asia Pacific.
Speaking at his post-Cabinet press conference in Wellington, Key said he discussed the progress of the TPP negotiations with US Trade Representative Mike Froman while at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and that there was growing optimism a deal would be completed and could be put in front of legislatures to debate this year.
"There seems to be strong feeling that a successful TPP could be negotiated in the first half of this year," Key said. "There was more confidence the TPP will be concluded than the US Europe FTA and the view expressed to me by Mike Froman was that they really felt they were getting quite close."
The TPP agreement seeks a trade agreement spanning the Pacific Rim and currently involves 12 countries: New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, Chile, Peru, and Mexico.
Where the deal differs from other free trade agreements is that it goes into aligning regulatory settings across borders rather than simply removing quotas and tariffs, and has been faced staunch opposition from those who claim it undermines a nation's sovereignty.
Key said he didn't push other ongoing trade negotiations while he was at Davos, though did try to "drum up support" from European leaders having last year taken steps to deepen New Zealand's relationship with the region.