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NZ builds trade ties, renews links with Algeria

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Trade
Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control
Minister of Defence

17 January 2008
Media statement

New Zealand builds trade ties, renews links with Algeria

Minister of Trade, Disarmament and Defence Phil Goff last night completed a two day visit to Algeria, accompanied by representatives of New Zealand firms seeking to build trading links with the region.

Mr Goff’s visit was the first official visit in many years to Algeria, which in past years has suffered from unrest and violence.

Mr Goff was welcomed to Algeria by President Bouteflika in a two hour meeting, which covered trade, disarmament, terrorism and peace-keeping and international affairs.

He also met with the Ministers of Trade, Foreign Affairs, Industry, Agriculture and Defence, the Governor of the Central Bank and the President of the Algerian Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Goff held discussions with the United Nations representative in Algeria, Mr Marc Bestane de Bernis. He passed on New Zealand’s condolences for the seventeen staff members of the United Nations who were among the 60 people killed in a terrorist attack in Algiers on 11 December last year.

He was briefed on progress within Algeria in development and human rights.

Mr Goff said that Algeria was an important country in the region and one with which New Zealand was keen to develop its trading, and wider relationship.

“Over the last eighteen months the value of New Zealand exports to Algeria – predominantly dairy and meat – has grown by 52 per cent to around $213 million. It is our biggest market in North Africa, and second largest in Africa over all,” he said.

“We are currently conducting a bilateral negotiation with Algeria for its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Significant progress has been made toward lowering bound tariff barriers on our major exports.

“Algeria has also agreed to make changes to non-tariff barriers relating to technical and regulatory requirements. During my visit we worked to enhance progress in these areas,” Mr Goff said.

“The visit was also helpful in promoting interest in New Zealand exports in non-traditional sectors such as ICT. New Zealand companies such as Tait and 4RF are well placed to take advantage of growing opportunities.

“With Algeria’s large fiscal and balance-of-payment surpluses and current major investment in infrastructure, opportunities also exist for New Zealand companies involved in construction, air transport, agri-technology and health-care.

“We received a strong and warm welcome in Algeria that views New Zealand as a country which, despite our size and the distance between us, has something to offer Algeria with our innovative companies and progressive trade and foreign policies.

“The substantial time devoted to the visit by President Bouteflika and so many of his ministers is an indication by Algeria of its desire to develop a close and more substantive relationship with New Zealand,” Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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