Key talks Pacific Partnership with Obama

Prime Minister John Key has attacked the failings of the United Nations. File photo
Prime Minister John Key has attacked the failings of the United Nations. File photo

Prime Minister John Key spoke with US President Barack Obama last night about the Trans Pacific Partnership meeting on Tuesday.

Mr Key took the phone call at 3.15 am NZ time from his room at the Empire Hotel and Country Club in Brunei where he has been attending the East Asia Summit.

He told reporters with him that he had spoken with Mr Obama for 10 or 15 minutes.
He said he had given him an update on how the TPP meeting had progressed, the dynamics in the room "and how we can work on getting the deal completed."

Mr Obama was committed to the process and had been "prepared to out in his own capital to advance the cause."

"But in the end there are significant issues that new to be thrashed out by negotiating teams and we need to get a sense of what individual countries are prepared to have as their both starting and finishing point. There's only so much an individual person can do."

Mr Obama had expressed his gratitude to Mr Key for chairing the meeting.

Mr Key and Mr Obama were elected to power within weeks of each other in 2008.

Asked what their relationship was like, Mr Key said:"it's really warm. We know each other pretty well. We've been to lots of things together over the course of the last five years.

He seems very relaxed and comfortable. It's not stuffy. It's conversational and casual. "
Trade negotiators are due to meet in Singapore in the next week to start a more I tense negotiating programme to meet the deadline.

Mr Key chaired a meeting of 12 TPP countries at Apec in Bali in Mr Obama's place.

It reaffirmed the goal to have the free trade and investment treaty finished by the end of the year.

The US Federal Budget crisis meant Mr Obama had to cancel his trip.

The White House has issued a statement about Mr Obama's phone call, in which he thanked Mr Key for chairing the talks.

The statement said the President called Mr Key "to thank him for successfully chairing the meeting ... and to discuss the productive outcomes".

"The two leaders welcomed the agreement among leaders that the 12 member nations will work toward the ambitious goal of concluding negotiations this year, and they committed to intensifying efforts to reach that goal."

The statement said "this comprehensive and high standard agreement is a model for future trade agreements and a promising pathway to our APEC goal of building a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific".

The 12 countries are New Zealand, United States, Australia, Mexico, Canada, Peru, Chile, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam, and Japan.

- NZ Herald

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