Prime Minister Bill English and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have reiterated their commitment to the Trans-Pacific-Partnership (TPP) in a meeting in Tokyo this week and will work to strengthen the trade relationship of both countries. 

In a move described as a foreign policy win for Bill English, the TPP is set to benefit 11 countries. It would give New Zealand better access to globally significant markets, diversifying our trade and investment relationships, and build on the $28 billion of New Zealand goods and services we exported to TPP countries in 2014 such as Japan, Mexico and Canada and many others. 

Trade between New Zealand and Japan alone is worth over $7 billion – it’s our fifth largest source of foreign investment. That’s incredibly valuable both economically and strategically for New Zealand and it means our exporters will be able to access new markets and lower tariffs around the Asia-Pacific. This ultimately means more money coming back into our economy.

Agriculture and renewable energy will be two key areas we focus on with Japan in the next few years, alongside sport – Japan will host the Rugby World Cup in 2019, the Olympics and Paralympics in 2020 – all of which are opportunities for New Zealand to market itself on the international stage. 

But it doesn’t stop there. 

As early as January, Bill English was in London to meet with the UK Prime Minister to begin planning for our trade relationship with the UK once it leaves the EU. And in the past nine years the National-led Government has also signed trade agreements with Malaysia and Hong Kong and an economic cooperation agreement with Taiwan.

We must strike while the iron’s hot. That is why Bill English’s government launched Trade Agenda 2030. It means $90 million will be put into securing trade deals that will cover 90% of our exports by 2030, and we’re already setting up embassies and high commissions in Ireland and Sri Lanka to help meet that target.

These deals mean cheaper goods and services and greater choice when you are at the supermarket. But they also mean that National is making New Zealand an attractive place to set up a company and do business that delivers more jobs and opportunities. Just last year New Zealand dethroned Singapore as the world’s easiest place to do business.

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