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Key steps into Obama's shoes

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Latest News | Tuesday October 8 2013 5:24

Key steps into Obama's shoes


UPDATED 11:49am: A big day for John Key at the APEC leaders' summit in Bali as he steps into Barack Obama's shoes to chair a critical Trans Pacific Partnership meeting.

The US president isn't there because of his country's economic crisis, but the Prime Minister's confident progress can be made.

The Americans are keen to see this deal wrapped up - and that's good news for New Zealand which has had to sit back and watch Australia clinch a free trade deal with the world's biggest economy.

There is talk of wrapping up the negotiations by the end of the year.

However, some of the 12 countries are still a little wary, backing away from a planned statement saying the the deal's all but finished.

Mr Key says there's good momentum to push negotiations forward.

"Everyone's aware of the contentious issues, everyone's aware of the heavy lifting that's got to be done between now and the end of the year if we're going to get a deal over the line.

"But I certainly did sense that there's momentum from the bulk of the leaders."

The leaders, under pressure from the United States, were planning to say the free trade deal was substantially finished.

But sources say the draft's been amended to be a little more cautious.

Mr Key's clear about what he hopes will come out of the meeting.

"In any APEC meeting we get face time with leaders that otherwise it's very difficult for us to get on their calendar."

Focus needed on farming tariffs

The TPP agreement is aimed at removing tariffs, subsidies and other barriers to international trade.

Federated Farmers National President Bruce Wills says the focus needs to be on removing farming tariffs, which are a major burden for the New Zealand economy.

"It's a big price for not only New Zealand farmers but the New Zealand economy.

"Tariffs and trade restrictions cost this economy over $1.2 billion per year."

Photo: John Key, APEC (Getty Images)

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