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Goff leaves for trade, defence meetings in Japan

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Trade

13 May 2008
Media statement

Goff leaves for trade and defence meetings in Japan

Trade and Defence Minister Phil Goff will leave for Japan tomorrow to meet his counterparts in that country to promote closer economic and security ties.

The three-day visit supports the Japan leg of Helen Clark’s trip to Korea and Japan where the Prime Minister will be meeting leaders of both countries.

“New Zealand attaches great importance to its relationship with Japan. Our two-way trade is valued at NZ$7.3 billion and Japan is our third largest export market,” Phil Goff said.

“My meeting with Japan’s Trade Minister Amari will include discussions on joint efforts to strengthen our relationship in trade and investment, regional cooperation, education, tourism, science and technology, and people to people links.

“Japan and New Zealand already work closely on regional trade and economic integration initiatives.

“For example, we strongly support Japan’s proposal for a ‘Comprehensive Economic Partnership in the East Asia (CEPEA) or ASEAN +6’. Initial analysis shows an FTA between the ASEAN countries and the proposed six other countries is likely to generate positive economic returns for all partners as well as good political linkages for New Zealand.

“I am also very keen to advance our bilateral trade links. It is important for New Zealand that all options for increased activity, including eventual free trade discussions, remain clearly in sight.

“While in Japan I will also attend and speak at the first ever Japan New Zealand Partnership Forum,” Mr Goff said.

“The Partnership Forum (on 14-16 May) is set to be the largest and most significant gathering of government and business leaders from the two countries ever held, with around 80 senior participants from Japan and New Zealand confirmed to attend.

“On security issues Minister of Defence Ishiba and I will discuss international and regional defence and security issues, including developments in the Pacific, Afghanistan and Timor Leste.

“We will also look at ways of strengthening our defence and security cooperation. New Zealand and Japan have many shared security interests that lend themselves to closer cooperation, including disaster relief and peacekeeping.

“We are grateful for Japan’s cooperation in fuelling the New Zealand frigate Te Mana free of charge as it carries out patrol duties in the Persian Gulf,” Phil Goff said.


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