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PM makes historic visit to Colombia

Rt Hon John Key
Prime Minister

6 March 2013 Media Statement

PM makes historic visit to Colombia

Prime Minister John Key has become the first New Zealand Prime Minister to visit Colombia, a country with growing trade and economic links to the Asia-Pacific region.

Mr Key says both he and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos also committed to concrete measures to boost goods and services trade between their countries and, to that end, have directed officials to prepare a strategic assessment regarding a New Zealand-Colombia comprehensive economic partnership.

“Colombia is a member of the Pacific Alliance trade grouping, along with Chile, Mexico and Peru – a grouping that reflects a desire for greater integration among economically open and like-minded Latin American countries. New Zealand holds observer status with the Pacific Alliance. We have a free trade agreement in force with Chile, and are part of Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations with that country, and Peru and Mexico,” says Mr Key.

“However, Colombia is the only member of the Pacific Alliance with which New Zealand does not have a pathway to open trade and investment, and rectifying that would benefit both countries.”

Mr Key also pledged New Zealand’s support for Colombia’s burgeoning dairy industry.

“New Zealand will invest US$3.4 million over four years in a joint project with the Colombian government to support the agricultural sector, through training and the sharing of New Zealand’s considerable technical expertise,” says Mr Key.

“Colombia has made huge strides, economically and politically, over the past decade, and is fast becoming a major player in Latin America. Its agricultural sector is on the rise, and President Santos has told me Colombia’s dairy industry would benefit enormously from New Zealand’s skills and investment.

“The demand for New Zealand’s expertise is opening up opportunities in Colombia for New Zealand businesses to invest in the local economy and export not only their goods, but their services.

“During our meeting I had the opportunity to thank President Santos for Colombia’s support for New Zealand’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. I also affirmed to President Santos New Zealand’s support for Colombia’s application for membership of the OECD.”

Mr Key is leading a trade delegation to Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Brazil, and returns to New Zealand on March 15.

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