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.