Trade Minister Todd McClay says his visit to Washington for high-level trade talks with the Trump Administration has been a success and that the U.S. has indicated it is open to a free trade agreement (FTA) with New Zealand when the time is right.
Mr McClay met with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, newly appointed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Congressman David Reichert, Special Advisors to the President and members of the US Chamber of Commerce.
Mr McClay says Secretary Ross has indicated that he is open to a trade deal with New Zealand and did not see any major issues, as our relationship was in good shape.
"It's clear the U.S. will take time considering its trade strategy. They're likely to have a considerable workload over next couple of years with NAFTA renegotiations and some big bilateral deals to do. However, I've welcomed their interest in an FTA as a demonstration of the good shape our trading relationship is in," Mr McClay says.
"Trade Agenda 2030 sets an ambitious target of 90 per cent of our goods trade being covered by FTAs by 2030. The U.S. will be an important part of achieving this goal and my discussions this week in Washington are encouraging."
USTR Robert Lighthizer also told Mr McClay he was keen to work with New Zealand on international trade policy issues.
"This was my 3rd meeting with Ambassador Lighthizer since his confirmation just over a month ago. I have a great deal of respect for Robert and believe that New Zealand will be able to work closely with him on trade."
Mr McClay says there is significant interest in New Zealand's approach to trade policy. Congressman Reichert and members of the U.S. business community said they had admiration for how we had opened our markets and made the most of the opportunities in the Asia Pacific region.
"They recognise we are number one in ‘ease of doing business' and were impressed with the strong performance of our economy,” Mr McClay says
Mr McClay says there is considerable scope to grow trade and investment with the U.S.
"Two-way trade with the U.S. reached $16 billion in 2016. This is an incredibly wealthy market with huge opportunity for New Zealand businesses. Trade Agenda 2030 means the Government will increase efforts to help New Zealanders do more in countries like the U.S.," Mr McClay says.
Trade Minister Todd McClay has welcomed the appointment of respected trade policy expert Crawford Falconer as the U.K.'s Chief Trade Advisor.
"I congratulate Crawford and wish him well in his new role," Mr McClay says.
Mr McClay says that Mr Falconer had served in a number of roles including Ambassador to the WTO.
"He has a great deal of trade policy expertise and the world trading system will benefit from his appointment as the UK develops a post Brexit trade strategy," Mr McClay says.
"We have been providing assistance to the U.K. in trade policy training and will continue to offer this support as required. I look forward to working with my ministerial colleagues in the U.K to strengthen our bilateral trade and economic relations."
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.
Màlò e lelei, kia orana, tena kotu, tena kotu, tena kotu, katoa and kia ora.
Prime Minister, the Honourable ‘Akilisi Pohiva.
My counterpart, the Honourable Dr Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, Minister of Trade.
May I acknowledge all of the ministers, negotiators and officials who have travelled from around the Pacific to be here today.
And my three colleagues from the New Zealand Parliament: the Honourable Annette King; Fletcher Tabuteau; and Barry Coates, who have joined me in a Cross-Party Parliamentary delegation to mark this significant occasion.
Prime Minister, New Zealand is part of the Pacific, and anyone who questions this need only reflect on the lesson offered by a truly Pacifica team, the Auckland Blues to the British Lions a few weeks ago.
New Zealand is a Pacific country, and we are committed to supporting our region to be more resilient and more prosperous.
We have very strong personal ties with almost 300,000 Pacific Islanders calling New Zealand home and Pacific people are projected to make up 10% of our population by 2038.
New Zealand and Australia are the largest sources of tourists for Pacific Island countries, we collectively buy more from you than any other nation and we are some of your most significant investors.
With PACER Plus begins a new era of closer economic relations. New Zealand has no closer relationship with a group of counties than with Pacific Island Nations.
For this reason, we have negotiated in good faith, as good neighbours and as friends. We have done so in a spirit of partnership, and as equals who share a common desire to make the lives of our respective peoples better.
PACER Plus is not about competing or about winners and losers. It is about shared prosperity and encouraging economic development in Pacific nations. It is a win-win for all of our countries.
It is a world-class trade and development agreement.
The agreement, the associated development and cooperation programme and the labour mobility and skills training arrangements, are deeply important undertakings for New Zealand.
It strikes a fair balance between lowering tariffs and barriers offering greater certainty for New Zealand businesses and investors while ensuring Pacific Island countries benefit from trade through increased capacity and modernising their economies at a sustainable and realistic pace.
In return, it also ensures we will all be treated fairly in any future trade and investment deals that might be done with other trading partners.
PACER Plus is more flexible for Pacific Island countries than almost any other trade agreement New Zealand has or is likely to sign. This is because I recognise that many of your countries face the challenge of limited size and resource and the reality of isolation, of sustainability and climate change.
This agreement will build more two-way trade and investment that will, in turn, support sustainable growth in Pacific Island economies to the benefit of Pacific Island people.
New Zealand has also committed to investing at least 20 per cent of our total Official Development Assistance in ‘Aid for Trade’ in the Pacific region.
The exact amount is to be determined but applying this target to New Zealand’s current three-year funding cycle, Aid for Trade would mean potential investments of over NZ$340 million in economic infrastructure and capacity building.
PACER Plus will give each of the signatory countries greater capacity to produce goods and services which you can then sell competitively in international markets, using trade as the engine of economic growth and sustainable development.
Ultimately, PACER Plus will mean more jobs for your people.
We have a long history of engagement between our countries. The long journey to today's ceremony began with the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement in 1980 and then the original PACER Agreement in 2001.
While SPARTECA and PACER formed a solid foundation, the Pacific Island Forum Leaders launched a new process at their 40th meeting in August 2009.
When PACER Plus negotiations were launched, New Zealand’s then-Prime Minister Rt. Hon. John Key said that trade is a key driver of economic development in the Pacific and he undertook to support your countries to use trade in a way that would help increase jobs and capitalise on the opportunities that the international trading system presents.
PACER Plus is a comprehensive trade and development agreement, that we can all be proud of.
It is a model that the Pacific should use as the standard for negotiations with other nations. It sets a benchmark for others to show commitment and to help small Island economies grow through fair and balanced trade rules, good access to important markets, and a commitment to people.
Today marks not the end of a negotiation, but the continuation of an exciting journey. I’m pleased to be here eight years after we started to see our collective vision begin to be realised.
Màlò ‘aupito. Thank you very much.
Trade Minister Todd McClay says a new era of closer economic relations with the Pacific has dawned following the signing of the PACER Plus trade and development agreement in Tonga today.
“This is a landmark moment for the economic future of the Pacific. Pacer Plus will help sustainably develop the countries involved through trade and help raise the standard of living for their people. A more resilient and prosperous Pacific is in all of our interests,” Mr McClay says.
“In the short-term, the Pacific countries who have signed this agreement will benefit economically and socially through the joint NZ Australia $55 million development package. Long-term, trade will help transform their economies by providing reliable income and sustainable growth.”
“PACER Plus also benefits New Zealand businesses by establishing a common set of trading rules covering goods, services and investment. These rules will reduce tariffs and red tape for New Zealand exporters and investors as well as future-proof competitive access for our companies.”
More information on PACER Plus will be available to business and the general public in a series of other upcoming public engagements on New Zealand’s full trade agenda.
Note to editors:
More information about PACER Plus: www.mfat.govt.nz/pacer
Public engagement opportunities: www.mfat.govt.nz/tradeengagement
Trade Minister Todd McClay says the signing ceremony in Tonga of the landmark PACER Plus trade and development agreement on Wednesday will usher in a new era for closer economic relations in the Pacific.
Mr McClay will be joined at the ceremony by Australia and the Pacific Island countries who are ready to sign up.
“After eight years of negotiation, the opening for signature of PACER Plus allows us to begin implementation of a $55 million development package that will boost exports, lift living standards and create jobs across the Pacific,” Mr McClay says.
“The agreement will create a common set of trading rules covering goods, services and investment in support of economic growth. These rules will reduce tariffs and red tape for New Zealand exporters and investors, which will increase the attractiveness of the region for trade and investment.”
“PACER Plus future-proofs access for New Zealand companies and ensures we will remain competitive should other countries look to do deals in the region.”
“The door remains open for other Pacific Island countries, who aren’t yet in a position to sign and join the agreement.”
Mr McClay will be accompanied on the trip by Hon Annette King, Fletcher Tabuteau and Barry Coates as part of a bipartisan ministerial delegation.
“The signing of PACER Plus will be an opportunity for leaders and ministers from across the Pacific to gather and celebrate a new era for economic integration between our countries,” Mr McClay says.
“In light of its importance to the region, I have invited MPs from Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens to join me in Tonga.”
Note to editors: More information about the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (PACER Plus) can be found here: www.mfat.govt.nz/pacer
Trade Minister Todd McClay has released an information paper on the scope of the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between New Zealand and the European Union (EU) as the Government seeks to have 90 per cent of our goods trade covered by FTAs by 2030.
“The early release of this paper will give New Zealanders and New Zealand businesses a better insight into the high level of ambition we have for this agreement as well as details about the market access we are pushing for and the quality outcomes we want to achieve,” Mr McClay says.
“The EU is our third largest market for goods and services and it grew in value to more than $20 billion in two-way trade in 2016. That’s why we are pushing so hard for better access and lower tariffs. There is huge potential to continue growing our exports to the EU.”
The release follows a number of successful bilateral meetings between Mr McClay and EU member states in Paris last week. Mr McClay was visiting for the OECD’s Ministerial Council Meeting and also met with the EU’s Trade Commissioner Cecelia Malmström.
“Commissioner Malmström confirmed that the EU is committed to launching negotiations for a high quality, ambitious and inclusive agreement with New Zealand this year,” Mr McClay says.
"I received good support for the timely launch of negotiations from Germany, Portugal, Austria, Hungary, Finland, Poland and the Netherlands during meetings last week, with other EU members having previously also expressed support.”
More details on the NZ-EU FTA will be available during a series of public engagement meetings planned in the coming weeks and months focusing on New Zealand’s full trade negotiations agenda.
“Trade Agenda 2030, the Government’s new trade strategy sets an ambitious target of 90 per cent of our goods trade being covered by FTAs by 2030. It also makes openness and transparency around trade issues an important priority. We want all New Zealander to share in the benefits of this thriving sector and to understand how important trade liberalisation is for the future prosperity of New Zealand,” Mr McClay says.
Note to editors:
The FTA summary scoping paper: https://mfat.govt.nz/assets/FTA-Publications/EU-FTA/EU-NZ-FTA-Scoping-Summary-and-Q-A-May-2017.pdf
Public meetings information: www.mfat.govt.nz/tradeengagement
Trade Minister Todd McClay has announced the establishment of the Services Export Reference Group at a press conference to launch an OECD study in Paris today highlighting the significant opportunity services exports offer the New Zealand economy.
“Services account for 70 per cent of our GDP, 80 per cent of New Zealand jobs and 31 per cent of our exports,” Mr McClay says.
“It is therefore imperative that we work closely with the services sector to bring down barriers and help them find greater success in overseas markets.”
Mr McClay has invited 40 New Zealand services exporters and industry groups to join the reference group including from the healthcare, tech, R&D, entertainment and hospitality sectors.
“In 2016 services exports increased by $1.1 billion to $21.6 billion. That’s almost a third of all New Zealand exports, so it’s vitally important we nurture and support further growth,” Mr McClay says.
“There are huge global growth opportunities for services exports and the digital economy, and the Government’s working hard to ensure that our exporters are in a strong position to take advantage of them.”
“The OECD’s Services Trade Policies and the Global Economy study points out that services generate two-thirds of global GDP and concludes that better integration between countries can substantially reduce the administrative burden on our exporters and SMEs. That is an outcome the Government continues to advocate and fight for on behalf of our exporter.”
“As part of Trade Agenda 2030, our new trade strategy, the Government is committed to engaging more with New Zealanders and New Zealand businesses on trade. The reference group is an important part of our plans to grow trade and maximise the benefits of the increasing market access we are working so hard to achieve.”
The first meeting will be held on 20 June and will be hosted by the Auckland University of Technology.
Note to editors: OECD study available here: http://www.oecd.org/publications/services-trade-policies-and-the-global-economy-9789264275232-en.htm
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.
Trade Minister Todd McClay has announced a series of trade-related public, iwi and business events signalling greater public engagement to help New Zealanders identify new opportunities and benefits from trade agreements.
Public meetings are planned around the country in June and July on New Zealand’s full trade negotiation agenda, including the NZ-China FTA upgrade, the prospective NZ-European Union FTA, Brexit, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and the Pacific Islands FTA – Pacer Plus, as well as discussions with the Pacific Alliance and countries of Mercosur.
“Trade is important to every region of the country and the jobs of more than six hundred thousand New Zealanders are linked to our export sectors,” Mr McClay says.
“It is important the public can talk about their priorities with our trade experts and discuss why we fight so hard for greater fairness in important overseas export markets.”
The first discussion will focus on the recently concluded Pacer Plus agreement between 12 Pacific Island countries, Australia and New Zealand will be held this week with the Council of International Development at Oxfam’s Auckland office.
“The Government’s recently launched trade strategy, Trade Agenda 2030, sets out our commitment to building confidence in trade. Our economy relies upon good access to overseas markets and it’s important that all New Zealanders have the opportunity to share in the benefits of trade deals,” Mr McClay says.
The meetings follow significant engagement in 2016 on TPP, RCEP, EU FTA and Trade Agenda 2030.
“Through this extensive public process, we are better able to deliver outcomes that benefit our economy. I am pleased to continue this engagement and seek to help build greater understanding of the significant benefits available to all through high-quality trade agreements,” Mr McClay says.
“We want New Zealanders and New Zealand businesses to give their views. This feedback will help inform the Government’s approach to future negotiations.”
Information on the public meetings can be found at: www.mfat.govt.nz/tradeengagement