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New Zealand PM believes regional trade deal could be in place in 2011
Date: 2010/11/18 Click: 1596
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key retured home on Monday from the APEC leaders meeting in Yokohama, having secured an agreement to start free trade talks with Russia and pleased with progress on the nine-nation Trans- Pacific Partnership negotiations.

He believes a regional trade deal involving New Zealand and the United States could be finalised by the end of next year.

Key met the leaders of the eight other countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations on Sunday, while in Japan for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) meeting.

He told NZPA Sunday night the meeting had been one of the most successful from New Zealand's perspective and showed APEC was still a powerful force in international diplomacy.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations involve nine countries: Australia, Peru, Chile, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia, the United States and New Zealand.

Key said the agreement to start FTA negotiations with Russia includes Kazakhstan and Belarus, and the aim was to seal the deal by 2012.

"It's a very significant milestone," he said. "We would be the first country to sign an FTA with Russia."

Key said it would have significant gains for New Zealand's economy.
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