Amidst the coronavirus upheaval, one thing is certain – agriculture will see our economy through.
McClay, in China for the G20 meeting of world trade ministers, met the EU trade commissioner Cecelia Malmström and other trade and economic ministers from Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. McClay says Malmström confirmed that NZ remains on track to negotiate an FTA with the EU.
"Considerable effort has been put in by both sides over the past few years as a high quality trade agreement is in all parties' interests," he told Rural News.
"We have a lot in common with the EU, including working toward further trade rules on agriculture, SMEs and services in the World Trade Organisation. This cooperation will continue, as will our access to the EU market, valued at $8.6 billion per year."
He says all parties spoke of the need for calm reflection and orderly discussions on trade.
McClay also met the UK trade minister, at the time Lord Price, and told him that NZ was interested in negotiating a two-party trade agreement with the UK once Britain was in a position to do so.
"Timing of a [two-party] agreement would depend on discussions the UK must first have with the EU, but we agreed it is in the interests of the UK and New Zealand to negotiate a high-quality agreement.... I have confirmed the NZ government will work with the UK on trade matters and look for opportunities to cooperate as soon as possible," he says.
At the G20 meeting McClay spoke to his counterparts from Argentina, US, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Mexico, Laos, Russia and China.
"The diversity of NZ trade means we are active in a wide range of markets. This meeting was an invaluable opportunity to progress our specific bilateral trade issues with these countries," he says.