Trade Minister Tim Groser has indicated that negotiations to resolve the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal might take longer than thought.
Addressing the United States-New Zealand Pacific Partnership Forum in Washington, Mr Groser said negotiations could extend beyond the end of this year.
He repeated an earlier warning that the Government won't sign up to a low quality deal.
"New Zealand will not be a member of this agreement that puts aside our vital export interests in favour of some patchy little deal at the end.
"We do not need, ladies and gentlemen, from the perspective of our country another second rate FTA (free trade agreement)."
The 17th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations are underway in Peru's capital, Lima.
The group comprises 11 Pacific Rim countries, including New Zealand, with Japan in talks to join.