Obama thanks New Zealand official for trade talks

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has thanked New Zealand Prime Minister John Key for overseeing a meeting of leaders negotiating a trade deal among the U.S. and 11 other countries.

The White House says Obama and Key spoke by telephone Thursday. Both welcomed the agreement among the leaders, who met earlier this week in Bali, Indonesia, that they will try to wrap up negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership this year. The deal is part of a regional goal to create a free-trade area of the Asia Pacific.

Obama was supposed to attend the meeting in Bali but stayed in the U.S. because of the partial government shutdown.

Obama this week expressed regret about not being in Bali to participate in the negotiations. He says such a deal could create U.S. jobs.

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