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NZ and Korea strengthen partnership

NZ and Korea strengthen partnership

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Republic of Korea President Roh Moo-hyun today strengthened the relationship between the two nations with adoption of the Partnership for the 21st Century.

Helen Clark said that New Zealand and Korea enjoy a strong relationship and through the Partnership will work to form even closer ties.

"I am delighted to see the Partnership adopted. It outlines five core areas: Political, Economic, Environmental, Innovation and the Knowledge-Based Economy, and Civil Society Links. Each of these specifies areas of significant bilateral activity with potential for future growth.

A key component of the Partnership is an agreement to commission a study into the merits of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between New Zealand and Korea.

“An important feature of the study will be to look at how an FTA and closer economic ties would benefit the relationship in both economic and non-economic terms, " Helen Clark said.

Private institutions in New Zealand and Korea will jointly undertake the study. A tender for the commission to undertake the New Zealand part of the study will be issued this month. The study is expected to be completed by the end of 2007.

Helen Clark said the Partnership document adopted today reflects how the relationship between New Zealand and Korea works on several levels.

"We have alongside our formal ties, numerous people-to-people connections including, through the many Koreans and New Zealanders living, studying, teaching, and researching in the each other's country," Helen Clark said.

Around 30,000 Koreans live in New Zealand. Korea is New Zealand’s second largest source of overseas students, with around 13,000 here last year, and the fifth largest source of visitors with over 100,000 arrivals annually.

New Zealand and Korea also enjoy a strong trade relationship. Korea is New Zealand’s seventh-largest trading partner with total trade worth NZ$2.229 billion last year. It is New Zealand's sixth-largest export market.

President Roh arrived in New Zealand yesterday for a three-day visit, which includes meetings with the Governor General, Prime Minister Helen Clark and other ministers, and business and community leaders.

Three arrangements are being signed during President Roh’s visit, covering key areas where the bilateral relationship has potential to grow, including in investment promotion, and in science and technology collaboration. The arrangements are: The Memorandum of Understanding between the Korean Electronic and Telecommunications Research Institute and New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology The Memorandum of Understanding between the Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise The Arrangement between the Korean Ministry of Information and Communication and New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development for Cooperation in Information and Communications Technology

An agreement between the Korean Ministry of Agriculture and the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has also been negotiated and will be signed in early 2007.


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