John Key plugs Asia-Pacific free trade area

  • 18/11/2015
John Key (AAP)
John Key (AAP)

By Sarah Robson

Prime Minister John Key has made his pitch for a comprehensive Asia-Pacific free trade deal that also includes the world's second-most populous nation, India.

Speaking as part of a panel discussion at the APEC CEO Summit in Manila yesterday, Mr Key said that as a small country with a population of just 4.5 million, New Zealand has benefited hugely from the free trade agreements it's done with the likes of China, South Korea and the 10 members of the ASEAN regional grouping.

He talked up the impending gains to be had from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), but said he's still keen to see an Asia-Pacific free trade zone come to fruition.

Even though India isn't a member of APEC, Mr Key wants it at the table.

"In the perfect would you get to a situation where FTAAP has been concluded, all of the 21 countries and economies that sit within APEC are included in a free trade agreement," Mr Key said.

"Bluntly, India would be part of that group because of its sheer size and significance. That would be our ambition."

The much talked about Free Trade Area for the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) is still in its early stages, but APEC leaders will be taking another look at it during their talks in the coming days.