Trade Minister Todd McClay will make the first official visit to Thailand by a New Zealand Minister since 2013 to engage with key ministers and business leaders on trade.
“Thailand is now our eighth largest trading partner. Since the Thailand New Zealand Closer Economic Partnership came into force, total goods trade has increased almost 150 per cent to more than $3 billion in 2016,” Mr McClay says.
“Many New Zealand companies have benefited from better access, but there is opportunity to further increase goods and services exports.”
During the two day visit, Mr McClay will sign an agreement increasing the volume of New Zealand dairy products that can enter Thailand under a preferential tariff rate.
Mr McClay will also sign the official book of condolence on behalf of the Government and people of New Zealand, for the late King, His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej.
“New Zealand has a 60 year diplomatic relationship with Thailand, but our economic relationship has been growing rapidly. We look forward to deepening our economic relationship with this important member of the ASEAN region,” Mr McClay says.
Trade Minister Todd McClay has announced the launch of free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru and says better market access and lower tariffs will be of real value to New Zealand exporters.
“This is a big win in the fight for better access for New Zealanders to important overseas markets. We've worked hard for trade talks with the Pacific Alliance over the last two years and today’s announcement will be welcome news for our exporters,” Mr McClay says.
“A high-quality FTA will open the door for New Zealand companies to do more business with the Pacific Alliance countries and increase the $1.1 billion of two-way trade we currently have with them.”
Mr McClay made the announcement from the Pacific Alliance Summit in Colombia following a meeting with the Presidents of Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru.
“The Pacific Alliance is a grouping of fast-growing, like-minded economies committed to the liberalisation of trade. Between them they have more than 221 million consumers and a combined GDP of US$3.85 trillion, which is equivalent to the world’s sixth largest economy,” Mr McClay says.
“Negotiating a high-quality FTA with the Pacific Alliance will also help the Government reach its ambitious Trade Agenda 2030 target of covering 90 per cent of our goods trade under FTAs by 2030.”
Trade Minister Todd McClay says he believes the time is right to launch trade talks with Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia as part of the Government’s push for better access in Latin America.
Mr McClay leaves tomorrow to attend the Pacific Alliance Leaders Summit where a trade deal will be top of his agenda.
“We’ve been talking to the four Pacific Alliance countries about better access for Kiwi exporters for the last two years. With direct flights to South America there is increasing opportunity for New Zealanders to do more in these growing markets,” Mr McClay says.
“New Zealand currently has more than $1.1 billion dollars of two-way trade with the countries of the Alliance. But our exporters face high tariffs rates on many products, including dairy, which is currently our largest export.”
“A high-quality free trade agreement with Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru as part of the Pacific Alliance trading bloc presents a huge opportunity for New Zealand companies exporting to this fast-growing region because there is so much room for growth.”
Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru are home to 221 million consumers and have a huge combined GDP of US$3.85 trillion. The Pacific Alliance is a regional integration and trading bloc.
“Under Trade Agenda 2030, the Government’s new trade strategy, we have set the ambitious target of covering 90 per cent of our goods trade under FTAs and the Pacific Alliance is an important part of reaching that goal,” Mr McClay says.
Trade Minister Todd McClay tabled the PACER Plus trade and development agreement in Parliament today and has released the National Interest Analysis (NIA), which sets out the benefits of this landmark agreement.
Mr McClay says that PACER Plus is a high quality trade and development agreement which will help drive sustainability and economic certainty for our Pacific Island neighbours.
“The NIA gives comprehensive detail on PACER Plus. It explains how this unique trade and development agreement benefits our close friends in the Pacific and guarantees competitive access for the New Zealand businesses who trade with them,” Mr McClay says.
“As part of Trade Agenda 2030 we’ve committed to engaging New Zealanders more on trade issues. The tabling of the agreement and NIA signals the start of the treaty examination process and will be enhanced by a programme of public meetings to provide more information on PACER Plus.
PACER Plus was signed by Mr McClay in Tonga last week after 8 years of negotiations.
"PACER Plus strikes a fair balance between lowering tariffs and offering greater certainty for New Zealand businesses and investors, while ensuring Pacific Island countries benefit from trade. Those benefits include increased capacity and the modernisation of their economies at a sustainable and realistic pace," Mr McClay says.
"The agreement ensures New Zealand will be treated fairly in any future trade and investment deals that might be done with other trading partners."
The National Interest Analysis, along with a range of factsheets, can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s website.
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 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