WASHINGTON, June 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday said he hoped the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks could be concluded by the end of this year.
Obama said he discussed wrapping up the Asia Pacific trade deal with New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key for about an hour in the Oval Office at the White House.
"We discussed a timeline whereby before the end of the year we are able to get a document that can create jobs both for New Zealand and the United States and the other countries that are participating, and expand wealth for all parties involved," Obama told reporters after their meeting.
The president said he hoped that by the time he meets Key in November when he travels to Asia, "We have got something that we have consulted with Congress about, that the public can take a look at, and we can make a forceful argument to go ahead and close the deal".
Key said "New Zealand and the United States have been two partners in the TPP that have always believed in a high quality and comprehensive agreement."
"But we have got a lot of work to do between now and then," Obama added.
Washington had hoped to complete TPP trade negotiations by the end of last year, but representatives from the 12 participating countries in the Asia Pacific region failed to reach a deal in the past several months due to disagreements between the United States and Japan over market access negotiations.
U.S. lawmakers also expressed concerns that the Obama administration's trade agenda was at risk of failure without trade promotion authority (TPA).
Trade promotion authority, known as "fast track" trade legislation, provides that Congress must vote up or down on a proposed trade agreement without the possibility of amendment. Without that guarantee, it's more difficult for other negotiating countries to make significant concessions.
Analysts said that it's unlikely for Congress to pass the TPA bill before midterm elections in November. Therefore, chances of wrapping up the TPP trade deal this year appear slim.
The TPP is a trade agreement that the United States is negotiating with 11 other countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region, namely Singapore, New Zealand, Chile, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Vietnam, Malaysia and Peru, which covers two-fifths of the world economy and a third of global trade.