Tuesday, 21 June 2022 11:25

O'Connor heads to Europe, Canada

Written by  Staff Reporters
Trade and Export Minister Damien O'Connor. Trade and Export Minister Damien O'Connor.

Trade and Export Minister Damien O’Connor is off to Europe, Canada and Australia with the aim of advancing New Zealand’s economic interests.

O’Connor says the Government’s trade agenda has excellent momentum and is a key part of it’s wider plan to help provide New Zealanders with economic security as the world faces global disruption and uncertainty.

“New Zealand goods and services are in demand around the world. We are continuing to improve market access for Kiwi businesses and build on the gains we’ve achieved through the UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Comprehensive Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), RCEP, and China FTA upgrade. We see this as key to our future economic security.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will join O’Connor in Belgium to help progress a FTA between New Zealand and the European Union (EU).

“To underline our strong commitment to conclude negotiations that secure the best possible deal for New Zealand exporters, I will meet with the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President and Trade Minister, Valdis Dombrovkis, and the EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski.”

O’Connor says the NZ-EU FTA is of broader importance due to geo-political uncertainty in the region caused by the war in Ukraine.

He says it is crucial that like-minded partners like New Zealand and the EU continue to promote the international rules-based system.

“I will also travel to the UK to further promote bilateral trade, business and people-to-people links, following on from the signing of our historic NZ-UK FTA in February.”

O’Connor’s trip to Canada will see him meet the country’s Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development Mary Ng, to strengthen bilateral trade, especially through the CPTPP.

He will also visit Toronto to engage with Kiwi businesses, with a particular focus on the tech sector.

“Two-way trade with Canada was valued at just under $1.6 billion for the year ending September 2021, making them a significant trading partner, however our services exports took a hit throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This trip will help us reconnect with Canada by learning from and supporting New Zealand businesses on the ground in that market,” O’Connor says.

The final leg of the trip will see O’Connor join Prime Minister Ardern at the annual Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum in Sydney.

He is scheduled to depart for Europe on Friday 24 June.

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