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NZ And Mexico Start Towards A CEP Trade Agreement

New Zealand and Mexico would study the potential benefits of a Closer Economic Partnership trade agreement, Trade Minister Jim Sutton and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Luis Derbez announced today.

A possible outcome of the CEP study, expected to be completed next year, would be agreement to negotiate a Closer Economic Partnership, Mr Sutton said.

"We expect that a CEP would bring significant economic benefits for New Zealand, given that Mexico is already our largest Latin American export market and our 14th largest market world-wide.

"Our exports to Mexico are worth NZ$515 million. This is mainly dairy products, sheep meat and beef," Mr Sutton said.

"Mexico is an important Asia-Pacific economy and has 31 trade agreements including with the United States (through the North American Free Trade Agreement) and the European Union. A CEP with Mexico would enable New Zealand to compete on equal terms with these other economies.

"There would also be strategic advantages. A Closer Economic Partnership with Mexico, along with the agreement being negotiated with Singapore and Chile, would establish our free-trade credentials in the Americas," Mr Sutton said.

The study represents a significant step forward in the Government's Latin America Strategy, which aims to strengthen New Zealand's relationships with Latin American countries, he said.

The study was announced in Los Cabos, Mexico, at the 14th APEC Ministerial Meeting.


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