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NZ US Council welcomes “seismic” change


NZ US Council welcomes “seismic” change in capacity to promote NZ US links

The Government is boosting its capacity to increase the momentum for a free trade agreement with the United States, a move welcomed by the NZ US Council today.

NZ US Council Executive Director Stephen Jacobi congratulated Foreign Minister Winston Peters on the announcement that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade would receive extra funding and staff devoted to the NZ US relationship.

“New Zealand is better placed now than for many years to achieve the goal of an FTA. At a time when the relationship is best it’s been in decades, we cannot afford to miss this opportunity. We have to secure a level playing field in the US market with our competitors Australia and Chile who already have FTAs. We must also find ways to maintain momentum for free trade across the Asia Pacific region. The new resources given to the Ministry will help ensure that we are doing all we can to convince our American friends that this FTA is in their interest as well as ours”.

Mr Peters’ announcement comes in the wake of the Administration’s decision to negotiate on financial services and investment with the P4 group of countries, including New Zealand. The Administration has also begun a “detailed exploratory process” to determine whether it should participate in full free trade negotiations with P4.

Mr Jacobi said the NZ US Council had developed a plan to support the P4 process in partnership with the Government and business partners.

“The Council already works closely with the Ministry and is delighted that the Ministry’s capacity is being enhanced in this way. As the international environment becomes more complex it is vital that New Zealand’s global interests are promoted in ways which deliver value. This is a sound investment – the changes announced today should help generate new economic opportunity and enhanced security for New Zealand citizens”.

ENDS


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