Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks to begin Monday

15:03, March 14, 2010      

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New Zealand will open trade talks in the Australian city of Melbourne for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with the United States, Brunei, Chile and Singapore.

The trade talks could pave the way for a trade deal between New Zealand and the United States, the New Zealand Press Association reported on Sunday.

The TPP would build on the previously negotiated P4 trade agreement between New Zealand, Brunei, Chile, and Singapore with the first round of talks to expand the agreement with the inclusion of the U.S., Australia, Peru and Vietnam

The first round of negotiations to expand the TPP was to take place a year ago, but the U.S. postponed the first set of talks at the last minute, in the wake of the Obama inauguration.

Now, the United States is ready to start five days of talks in Melbourne next week.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has described the TPP as its "most important trade negotiation, working toward a free-trade agreement with the United States".

The New Zealand government has already appointed former prime minister and World Trade Organization (WTO) boss Mike Moore as ambassador to Washington, with instructions that a U.S. free trade deal is a priority.

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