Washington (AFP) - US President Barack Obama called New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key on Thursday to thank him for efforts to push a pan-Pacific trade deal at the APEC summit in Bali.
Obama was unable to travel to the annual summit because of a US federal government shutdown and a debt ceiling crisis, so was unable to work towards a goal of concluding a deal to set up the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership by the end of this year.
"As the TPP Leaders Statement noted, 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," a White House statement issued after the call said.
The United States says that significant progress was made in Bali on the TPP talks.
The TPP would account for more than 40 percent of the global economy.The United States has spearheaded the negotiations for the free trade area, describing it as creating "gold standards" for the 21st Century economy by taking into account fast-changing sectors such as intellectual property.