Prime Minister John Key is trying to drum up enthusiasm for a free trade deal on his visit to the United States.
In a speech to the United States Chamber of Commerce overnight in Washington Key talked up the benefits of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.
TPP negotiations started in Melbourne last year, aiming to extend the existing agreement between New Zealand, Brunei, Chile and Singapore to include the US, Australia, Peru and Vietnam.
"TPP represents something genuinely new and important. It will establish a framework that will work for countries as diverse as Vietnam, New Zealand and the US," Key said in the speech.
Immediate prospects for the World Trade Organisation Doha trade negotiation round were poor, he said.
"We see more value in a TPP that aims to modernise trade rules, across a wide agenda, in a region that has become the engine of global economic and trade growth," he said.
"Other big players in the region are taking notice. TPP helped prompt Japan's reformist statements on trade - the most progressive in a generation. We know others in the region are paying close attention too," he said.
"Ultimately, I believe TPP has the potential to become the basis of an integrated regional trading bloc linking Asia, Australasia and the Americas."
He talked of the increasing influence of countries such as China and India and the importance to New Zealand of free trade with those countries.
"...the Asia-Pacific region will be where the growth action will dominate in the next decade or two, and for the US this has to present a very exciting prospect.
"It is against this backdrop that TPP should be viewed. TPP is a gateway for increased US participation in Asia, and a stepping stone to wider and more far-reaching trade agreements in Asia."
There would be aspects New Zealand or the US would not be able to agree on, he said.
"But that cannot be a reason to not move forward. The TPP promises too much to miss on this great opportunity."
New Zealand would be working hard to get broad agreement on a deal by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders meeting in November, he said.