Obama eyes progress on Asia-Pacific trade deal in meeting with New Zealand prime minister

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama says he hopes the U.S. and its negotiating partners can make progress on an Asia-Pacific trade pact by the time he travels to the region later this year.

Obama is meeting in the Oval Office with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. The U.S. and New Zealand are part of the 12-nation group trying to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact.

Key has the distinction of being one of few foreign leaders who have joined Obama for a golf outing. They played a round in January while both were vacationing in Hawaii.

Obama says he looks forward to visiting New Zealand, if not this year, then before the end of his presidency. Obama is scheduled to travel to Asia in November.