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Prime Minister John Key says an agreement on the outline of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal is an important step for New Zealand exporters.
Leaders of the nine countries involved in TPP negotiations today issued a joint statement from the Apec summit in Honolulu saying they had agreed on the broad outlines of the deal and would work to implement an agreement as rapidly as possible.
There were still sensitive issues for each country and the leaders agreed to find ways to tackle those as part of a comprehensive and balanced package.
The countries involved in negotiations are New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam, Chile and Peru.
Mr Key said the announcement was a significant step in the TPP negotiation process.
"Having all nine countries, including New Zealand, agreeing on the broad outlines for an agreement is very important,'' he said.
"We have always pushed for lower trade barriers. It is good for our exporters, good for economic growth, and good for New Zealand.''
Mr Key said the announcement showed there was a strong political commitment from each country to conclude the agreement.
"I look forward to the detailed negotiations to come making substantial progress towards the final goal of a high-quality, comprehensive trade agreement.''
US President Barack Obama said he was confident "we can get this done'', USA Today reported.
"Together we can boost exports, create more goods available for our consumers, create new jobs, and compete and win in the markets of the future,'' he told media at the Apec summit.
Negotiating teams will meet in early December to continue work on a deal and to schedule more negotiating rounds for next year.