Prime Minister Bill English says some form of free trade agreement could still go ahead, despite US President Donald Trump's effective scuttling of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) that would have formed a 12-nation trading bloc.
The Trump administration confirmed over the weekend that its "America First" protectionist trade strategy would mean it could not ratify TPP.
New Zealand passed legislation late last year allowing the government to ratify the agreement, which was negotiated by 12 countries.
English told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking Breakfast that Trump's trade policy is not going to work well for New Zealand or the United States.
However, English said some form of the agreement could still go ahead.
"Last week the Prime Minister of Japan was in Australia and was very positive about finding a way through on plan B on the TPP if the US are not part of it," English told Newstalk ZB.
"It's a big turn around for Japan," English said, "and discussions have started already among the rest of the countries."
The agreement was "probably" still a good deal for New Zealand, even without US involvement, he said.
English said without the TPP, other agreements will continue to go ahead. He mentioned a potential deal with post-Brexit Britain and another with the EU.
Australia may still push forward with the trade TPP agreement.
After recent talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he would push for a vote in Parliament, with the aim of putting pressure on the US to implement the agreement despite Trump's opposition.