Trade Minister Todd McClay says the OECD Trade and Economic Ministers Council Meeting in Paris this week will be an important opportunity for New Zealand to show continued leadership on trade liberalisation.

Mr McClay leaves today for the two-day event where he will meet with ministers from over 40 countries.

“The theme of this year’s meeting is ‘Making Globalisation Work’ and it fits well with the priorities outlined in Trade Agenda 2030, the Government’s new trade strategy,” Mr McClay says.

“Those priorities include wanting all New Zealanders to share in the economic benefits of trade. Protectionism stops this from happening, making it more difficult for Kiwis to compete internationally.

“It’s simple - more trade means more jobs for New Zealanders and a more prosperous standard of living. That’s why the Government continues to fight hard for better access to overseas markets for our goods and services.”

While in Paris, Mr McClay will meet bilaterally with a number of other trade ministers including European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström. Mr McClay expects to also hold talks with newly appointed US Trade Representative Ambassador Lighthizer, prior to a visit to Washington later this month.

“I will be pushing hard for the start of trade negotiations with the EU when I meet with Commissioner Malmström. We've made good progress, but it's important we launch negotiations with Europe this year to level the playing field for Kiwi exporters,” Mr McClay says.

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