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NZ to explore CEP prospects with Hong Kong

New Zealand to explore Closer Economic Partnership prospects with Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a dynamic North Asian economy, and a key trading partner for New Zealand, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

The two countries enjoyed excellent relations.

"I welcome Mrs Chan's reported comments, which confirm that Hong Kong has been re-evaluating its previous policy of not entering into bilateral trade agreements, favouring instead the multi-lateral route to trade liberalisation.

"On my instructions, New Zealand officials have briefed Hong Kong officials on the Singapore-New Zealand Closer Economic Partnership agreement, and are to hold exploratory discussions on the concept of a CEP between New Zealand and Hong Kong."

Mr Sutton said that, with the agreement of Cabinet, these discussions would now become more structured, but it was not yet a formal negotiation.

"It is my hope that we will be able to move quite quickly to that stage."

Mr Sutton said such a development would of course entail Cabinet endorsement of a detailed negotiating brief and extensive public outreach and consultation.


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