Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee will today travel to Cuba to meet with his counterpart before attending the Pacific Alliance Summit in Colombia.

On June 27, Mr Brownlee will visit Cuba to meet Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla.

“This visit will help to strengthen New Zealand’s interests in the Latin American region, which is home to about 625 million people,” Mr Brownlee says.

“New Zealand works with Cuba on a number of important issues, including agriculture, international development, and regional cooperation.

“Both nations provide support to Small Island Developing States in the Pacific and Caribbean regions. Cuba is an important player in the Caribbean and the visit is a valuable opportunity to engage with one of our larger partners in the region,” Mr Brownlee says.

Mr Brownlee will then attend the Pacific Alliance Summit in Cali, Colombia on June 29 and 30. Trade Minister Todd McClay is also attending.

The Alliance is a regional organisation, established in 2011 by Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico. New Zealand has observer nation status with the Pacific Alliance.

“The Alliance is looking to begin trade negotiations with some observer countries as a pathway to offering Associate Membership of the group,” Mr Brownlee says.

“New Zealand already has long-standing relationships with the Alliance and each of its constituent nations.

“Pacific Alliance is a growing force for political and economic stability in Latin America, so it’s important for New Zealand to be a voice at the table,” Mr Brownlee says.

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