Key talks free trade with Obama


Newstalk ZB (Aucklund, New Zealand)
May 14, 2009

John Key has broached the subject of a free trade agreement with US President Barack Obama.

The leaders had a 15 minute phone conversation this morning.

The Prime Minister says the conversation was wide-ranging, with topics including the economy, Afghanistan, nuclear proliferation and trade.

"I raised with him the issue of free trade and pointed out to him that it’s very important to New Zealand. He seemed sympathetic I thought, to that, and made it clear that would be something that’s on the agenda for us to talk about."

Mr Key says he told President Obama New Zealand is at a disadvantage compared to Australia, which has an agreement with the US.

Mr Key says his conversation with the US President has not changed New Zealand’s position on Afghanistan. He says President Obama did not repeat his country’s request for New Zealand to send SAS troops.

The Prime Minister says New Zealand has made a significant contribution to Afghanistan and the SAS has already done three rotations there.

"We’re reviewing our position there but the call doesn’t make any difference in terms of our effort in Afghanistan. We’re doing what the Government thinks is appropriate."

Mr Key says President Obama did thank New Zealand for its work in Afghanistan’s Bamyan Province.

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