Trade Minister Todd McClay will make New Zealand’s first official ministerial visit to Washington under the Trump administration this week and says he will be pressing to advance our trade relationship.

Mr McClay will meet with new U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, key members of Congress as well as speaking at a number of NZ-U.S. business events.

“Ambassador Lighthizer has only been in the job for a month so I’m pleased to get to Washington so quickly. America is a vitally important trading partner for us, worth more than $16 billion in two-way trade. It’s our biggest market for beef and wine and our second biggest market for dairy,” Mr McClay says.

“I’ll be highlighting the strength of our bilateral relationship, the importance of continued New Zealand-U.S. cooperation and leadership on trade in the Asia-Pacific and our cooperation in the WTO against barriers to trade.” 

Mr McClay has already met with Mr Lighthizer at APEC in Vietnam where the invitation to travel to the U.S. was first extended. The pair met again last week at the OECD Ministerial Council meeting in Paris.

“The visit will reinforce the relationships the Government is developing across the United States administration, including through the visit to New Zealand by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last week,” Mr McClay says. 

Mr McClay will also visit Los Angeles to meet with members of the New Zealand business community, key West Coast legislators and politicians.

“California is the gateway to the U.S. for many New Zealanders and New Zealand businesses so it’s important we maintain strong relationships with the state,” Mr McClay says.

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