Trade Minister Todd McClay travels from London to Chile today for the first combined meeting of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries following the United States’ withdrawal from the agreement.
“I welcome the opportunity to sit down with other TPP ministers, to take stock of current developments and to look at how we might move this important agreement forward together,” Mr McClay says.
Mr McClay says he believed the TPP Agreement continued to offer value as a common set of rules across the Asia-Pacific region.
"I have recently visited Australia, Japan, Singapore and Mexico, met with ministers from Brunei and Malaysia and talked directly with trade ministers from all other TPP countries. It is clear our partners remain committed to the benefits high quality trade agreements provide," Mr McClay says.
The meeting comes following strong public encouragement from New Zealand’s largest exporters for the Government to pursue a deal with the other 10 countries.
While in Viña del Mar at the High Level Dialogue on Integration Initiatives for the Asia-Pacific, Mr McClay will also meet with members of the Pacific Alliance and a number of other Asia-Pacific countries discuss regional trade issues.
“High quality regional trade deals are key drivers of economic development and job growth. The Government will continue to fight for a fairer deal for kiwi exporters and to push for better access for our goods and services around the world,” Mr McClay says.
Trade Minister Todd McClay met International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox and Minister for Trade Policy Lord Price today to reaffirm their joint commitment to global trade liberalisation, and lay the foundations for the future trade relationship between the UK and New Zealand.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox asserted the importance the UK places on its trading relationship with New Zealand, with total trade in goods and services between the two countries increasing by 13 per cent between 2014-15.
The ministers welcomed progress made during the inaugural Trade Policy Dialogue meeting earlier this month.
“Our dialogue will enable us to build on our existing trading framework, towards an agreement in the future,” Mr McClay says.
“Through the dialogue we will continue to push for greater global trade liberalisation and reform, share expertise, and identify ways to strengthen our trading relationship.”
Minister McClay also welcomed the UK’s ongoing commitment to be a champion of global free trade. Secretary Fox confirmed his intention to visit New Zealand in the coming months.
“During that visit we will hold a joint public event to highlight the importance and benefits of open markets to our citizens at a time when the global economy is facing a period of uncertainty”, Mr McClay says.
The Secretary of State confirmed that the UK would remain fully supportive of the New Zealand-EU FTA as long as it remained a member of the European Union, and that he was very pleased that the scoping phase had been finalised.
Trade Minister Todd McClay and European Union Trade Commissioner Cecelia Malmström have agreed the completion of joint scoping discussions towards an EU-NZ Free Trade Agreement (FTA) following a meeting in Brussels today.
After almost 2 years of discussion, reaching this significant milestone means the FTA process now enters a new phase, where the Commission and New Zealand will seek respective mandates to commence negotiations.
"Today’s meeting was an important demonstration of our commitment to launch negotiations as soon as possible in 2017," Mr McClay says.
“New Zealand and the EU both recognise there are substantial benefits to be gained from free trade, and we are now one step closer to a high-quality, comprehensive FTA that can deliver great outcomes for our citizens.”
Mr McClay and Commissioner Malmström also agreed that officials should look at ways to engage the public on trade issues. Mr McClay said the EU undertakes a number of trade events during negotiations which might suit New Zealand.
"With this in mind, I have invited Commissioner Malmström to visit New Zealand later this year. The Commissioner has accepted this invitation," Mr McClay says.
Trade Minister Todd McClay will travel to Brussels for Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks with the European Union (EU) this weekend and will then go on to London for a meeting of Commonwealth Trade Ministers.
“The simple aim of my visit to Brussels is to meaningfully advance efforts to commence our FTA negotiations with the EU,” Mr McClay says.
“The EU is our third largest trading partner with annual two-trade closing in on $21 billion. It is immensely important that we continue to fight on behalf of our exporters for improved access and reduced tariffs.”
In London, Mr McClay will look to progress discussion on ways the Commonwealth can expand trade between members. He will also chair a roundtable discussion with his ministerial counterparts before meeting bilaterally with British Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox.
“This is an excellent chance to discuss the direct trade opportunities that arise for New Zealand in a post-Brexit environment,” Mr McClay says.
“New Zealand is a trading nation, trade liberalisation and fair access to markets are essential for the continued growth and stability of our economy.”
Trade Minister Todd McClay will visit Japan and Singapore this week to discuss regional trade issues with his ministerial counterparts.
During his visit to Japan, which is the first stop, Mr McClay will meet with the Minister in charge of Economic Revitalization Nobuteru Ishihara.
“Japan is New Zealand’s fifth largest two-way trading partner, a significant source of foreign investment, and a key international partner in our efforts to liberalise trade in the Asia-Pacific region,” Minister McClay says.
“We need to sit down and discuss the future of trade between our two countries and how we can best support regional economic integration and trade liberalisation.”
In Singapore, Mr McClay will meet with Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang.
“Given both Japan and Singapore are Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) signatories, I will take the opportunity to exchange views on the United States’ recent withdrawal from its TPP ratification process.
Minister McClay will also visit Mexico for trade discussions next week.
Trade Minister Todd McClay today welcomed the inaugural daily flight of Qatar Airways direct Auckland – Doha service at Auckland International Airport saying the world's longest flight was set to boost New Zealand trade and tourism.
“Qatar is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the air link will continue to gain importance when New Zealand concludes a Free Trade Agreement with the GCC,” Mr McClay says.
The new service is the world’s longest commercial flight, taking 17 hours and 30 minutes and covering a distance of 14,535 kilometres.
“The new Auckland – Doha service will not only provide more options and connections for business and leisure travellers, but will also provide an additional 116 tonnes of freight capacity every week. This increased freight capacity will support New Zealand exporters getting their fresh product to the Middle East and beyond,” Mr McClay says.
Qatar is a significant trading partner of New Zealand, with annual two-way trade exceeding $330 million.
“As a trading nation, New Zealand relies on effective air services to create much needed connections with the rest of the world. The estimated economic impact of this new service will be well in excess of $50 million,” Mr McClay says.
Qatar Airways has an extensive global network of more than 150 destinations. The new service from Auckland improves access to cities in Europe, Central Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Trade Minister Todd McClay will travel to Sydney tomorrow to meet with his Australian counterpart, Trade and Investment Minister Steven Ciobo.
The Ministers will discuss bilateral and regional trade issues likely to be of significance for both countries in 2017.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be a key focus of the meeting. Despite the United States’ recent decision to pull out of the agreement, a number of other TPP signatories – including Australia – have expressed a strong commitment to continuing with TPP. This meeting will be an important opportunity to understand Australia’s ambitions in this area,” Mr McClay says.
“As New Zealand’s largest two-way trading partner and closest friend, it’s important we stay in close touch with Australia on regional economic integration issues.”
Along with TPP, New Zealand and Australia are jointly involved in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and Pacer Plus trade agreement negotiations.
“The Prime Minister has asked me to engage with our trading partners on ways to advance trade liberalisation in the Asia-Pacific, and elsewhere, to secure better access for New Zealand exporters to offshore markets,” says Mr McClay.
The Australian visit is the first in a series of planned trips to TPP signatory countries by the Trade Minister in February.
Trade Minister Todd McClay has said that New Zealand’s ongoing and future trade relationship with the United Kingdom is in good shape following agreement on the next steps for the newly established NZ-UK Trade Policy Dialogue.
The progress was made during a meeting between Minister McClay and his UK counterpart, Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“This is an important day for trade relations between our two countries as the Trade Policy Dialogue will ensure there is no disruption to trading conditions as a result of Britain leaving the European Union,” Mr McClay says.
Minister McClay has offered to host a meeting in New Zealand when Secretary Fox visits in the first half of this year.
Discussions will include market access, trade and investment, World Trade Organisation processes and prospective negotiations.
“Preferential access to high value export markets is important for New Zealand’s strong economic performance. An ongoing focus on promoting fairer trade and investment rules is key to our prosperity as a nation and the Trade Policy Dialogue will be a part of this,” Mr McClay says.
Trade Minister Todd McClay has confirmed New Zealand and Sri Lanka will progress discussions on new trade and investment opportunities, which could include a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries.
The announcement comes after a meeting between Mr McClay and Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and I have instructed officials to consider how New Zealand and Sri Lanka can build the right framework to grow our economic relationship through a trade arrangement, including the possibility of working with other like-minded countries,” Mr McClay says.
“Sri Lanka and New Zealand are complementary economies. There is potential for greater trade both ways and I welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to this.”
“Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has agreed to open a diplomatic post in New Zealand and we are doing the same in Sri Lanka. This is an important step in strengthening trade and economic ties as well as increasing our bilateral engagement.”
Trade Minister Todd McClay will visit the State of Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to press for a conclusion to the free trade negotiations between New Zealand and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
During his visit to the Middle East, which begins tomorrow, Mr McClay will meet bilaterally with ministerial counterparts and business leaders, including the UAE Minister of Economy, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoor and Kuwaiti Minister of Commerce, Khalid Nasser Al Roudhan.
“This is my third visit to the region since becoming Trade Minister and it is important that we continue to lobby for the conclusion of the agreement. Progress on a GCC FTA will offer greater opportunity for New Zealand companies in this highly competitive market,” Mr McClay says.
The GCC, which comprises six member states, is New Zealand’s eighth largest trading partner, with annual two-way trade exceeding $3.5 billion.
On the 19-20 of January Mr McClay will then travel to Switzerland to attend a meeting of key WTO Trade Ministers where he will discuss developments in the multilateral trading system and prospects for progress ahead of the 11th WTO Ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires.
“This meeting is an important opportunity to discuss with key players in the WTO how we can work together to achieve a successful outcome at the 11th WTO Ministerial meeting later this year,” Mr McClay says.