By Vicki Needham - 08/20/12 05:06 PM EDT
“New Zealand is a key partner in the Trans-Pacific Partnership — one we need to help break down barriers to trade and support a strong agreement.”
On Sunday, Baucus met with New Zealand’s trade minister, Tim Groser, to seek opportunities for U.S. exporters and discuss TPP.
Negotiators, who will continue talks next month in Leesburg, Va., have said they would like to reach an agreement by the end of the year.
The deal is between the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, and seeks to eliminate tariffs and other barriers to trade in the region as an avenue to reviving the world economy.
Canada and Mexico have been approved by the nations to join the talks.
The United States is New Zealand’s third-largest trading partner, with exports amounting to $4.4 billion in 2010.
Next, Baucus is headed to the Mokai geothermal power plant, New Zealand's largest privately developed geothermal project, which is owned in part by the indigenous Maori people.
He will travel to Japan on Wednesday to meet with political and business leaders.