Mexican president, New Zealand P.M. vow push on Pacific trade deal

Mexico City, Mar 6 (EFE).- Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key agreed to work together to wrap up the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, an effort to create a free trade area spanning the Asia-Pacific region, this year.

Mexico and New Zealand will continue to emphasize "close cooperation" in other trade and multilateral initiatives, the leaders said in a statement released following their meeting Tuesday at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City.

A commitment has been made "to finish the TPP in 2013, achieving a high-quality agreement that liberalizes trade and investment in an exhaustive manner," Peña Nieto and Key said.

The TPP was initially signed in 2005 by Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore, with Malaysia, Peru, Australia, Canada, Mexico, the United States and Vietnam joining later.

TPP members are negotiating the creation of the world's most dynamic trade zone, a market with about 658 million people.

Peña Nieto thanked Key for New Zealand's support "so that Mexico could join the process of negotiating the TPP."

Both Key and Peña Nieto said the TPP would be positive in promoting economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region.

"The conclusion and implementation of this ambitious agreement will promote trade, employment and growth in Mexico and New Zealand," the leaders said.

Ministers from the countries that belong to the TPP, which Mexico officially joined last October, plan to meet this month.

Key is the first foreign head of government to visit Mexico since Peña Nieto took office on Dec. 1, the government said.

The prime minister's visit also coincides with the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mexico and New Zealand.