Trade Minister Todd McClay has welcomed the announcement by Pacific Alliance Ministers that they will look to progressively advance their trade agenda and says this is likely to provide significant opportunity for New Zealand exporters.
The Pacific Alliance will offer Associate Membership of the alliance as a precursor to trade negotiations with selected countries.
Mr McClay met formally with Pacific Alliance Ministers in Chile yesterday to pitch a trade deal between New Zealand and the Alliance.
"I have welcomed the Alliance announcement as a significant development, and expect New Zealand to be one of the first countries to start negotiations with the trading bloc.
"The prospect of a high quality and comprehensive trade deal for New Zealand with the Pacific Alliance has now increased significantly," Mr McClay said.
"We have been in dialogue with the Pacific Alliance for around two years and I am delighted that we can now see our way clear to taking a next step with these countries.
"This is a significant development for New Zealand trade policy and one which we intend to take up quickly. Only through the government levelling the playing field for kiwi businesses through better access to new and exciting markets will our economy continue to grow, offering opportunity to all regions in New Zealand," Mr McClay said. Editors note: the Pacific Alliance includes Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. It has 49 observer countries, a combined population of 206 million and GDP of US$3,572 billion.