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Ask the Ambassador: Trade with New Zealand, Trans Pacific Partnership

We recently received a question about our trading partners in the Pacific. Joe from Missouri asks:

"Will the negotiations between the US and New Zealand (and the others in the "P-4") resume soon? I followed the AUSFTA in the early 2000s and am eager to see what comes of the NZ negotiations. I'm particularly interested to see a framework developed that would promote and allow the mutual recognition of qualifications in professional services. I believe the AUSFTA encouraged this but to what extent that was successful, I do not know."

Ambassador Kirk responds:

"Thank you for your question, Joe. With regard to your interest in the professions, we will look at all options for increasing opportunities for our professional service providers, including through the encouragement of work on mutual recognition by the relevant bodies in our respective territories. Out of such an approach with Australia, three MRAs have already emerged: in accounting, one each between U.S. IQAB and both CPA Australia and the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia, and in engineering, one between the Texas Board of Professional Engineers and Engineers Australia. We welcome your support for these types of activities.

Beyond the professions, New Zealand is an important trading partner for the United States, with U.S. exports totaling more than $4.3 billion in 2008. American businesses have already seen the potential in markets across the Pacific, and are exporting machinery, electronic equipment and other goods.

For example, one small, high-tech firm from Pleasanton, California, is exporting its innovations, selling robotics and software to New Zealand and other Asia-Pacific countries.

Businesses and workers will continue to see the benefits of trade with a comprehensive and high-standard agreement linking the economies of the Asia-Pacific region.

Last year President Obama announced his intentions to enter into negotiations of a regional, Asia-Pacific trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). USTR currently has senior staff in Australia for the first round of negotiations, and they are working toward an agreement that will increase American exports, enhance our competitiveness abroad and support job opportunities for American workers. The current TPP includes Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. A successful TPP agreement will expand trading opportunities with New Zealand and other Asia-Pacific economies - an effort vital to America's economic future.

We are working with Congress and stakeholders to develop a TPP agenda that reflects our priorities and provides the greatest benefit for American families and workers. Be sure to check out USTR.gov this week for updates from the TPP negotiations in Australia."

Thank you for continuing our dialogue on trade. Please keep submitting your questions and comments for the Ambassador.