Deadline slides for Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement

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Deadline slides for Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement

China needs to join, NZ PM says.

The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement may not be concluded in October as hoped, after New Zealand Prime Minister John Key today said he wanted to close the deal later.

Speaking to the Chinese news agency Xinhua, Key said negotiations between the eleven countries currently involved in the TPP talks were "complex".

Key told Xinhua New Zealand wanted to "get the right policy deal" and would rather finish the talks later than adhere to a firm October deadline.

The TPP involves a free trade area in the Asia Pacific and started with founding parties Brunei, Chile, Singapore and New Zealand, later joined by the United States, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Canada, Mexico, Japan and Thailand.

Key said he wanted China to be part of the TPP and conclude broader free trade agreements through the World Trade Organisation, the Doha Round or the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership forums, the latter of which has sixteen Asia-Pacific countries as participants.

TPP has been criticised for being negotiated in secret with no drafts of the text being released to the public. In August last year, the Australian Labor Government and Opposition joined forces in parliament to vote down a motion by two Greens senators to disclose the full draft text.

Leaks of the TPP negotiation drafts suggest the treaty would contain several intellectual property law clauses, inserted after lobbying from US industry representatives, which may or may not affect local laws.

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