New Zealand will not sign a Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement unless it removes tariffs on dairy products and allows the state-owned drug-buying agency to stay, Prime Minister John Key said yesterday.
"We are not prepared to see dairy excluded," he said.
"In the end, New Zealand can't sign up to the TPP if it excludes our biggest export."
Mr Key said it was standard in free trade deals to have a phasing out of tariffs but he wouldn't comment on the timeframe.
He was commenting ahead of the 15th round of TPP negotiations, in Auckland next week, when hundreds of negotiators from 11 countries will continue talks.
Last week, United States President Barack Obama chaired a meeting of seven of the 11 countries in Cambodia on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit, where they set themselves a deadline of October next year to conclude the TPP.
Mr Key said yesterday that meeting would add momentum to the Auckland talks.
"Everyone has to benefit a little bit, but if we had to give away Pharmac, that wouldn't work for New Zealand either."
The US is seeking greater transparency in Pharmac's decision-making. Other sticking points are intellectual property provisions, agriculture, and state-owned enterprises.
Mr Key said President Obama was "deadly serious" about getting the deal concluded.By Audrey Young Email Audrey