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EU-NZ FTA discussed with Senior EU figures

Hon Todd McClay

Minister of Trade
16 February 2016

EU-NZ FTA discussed with Senior EU figures

“An EU-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement would mutually benefit economic growth and productivity and support New Zealand businesses – particularly SMES”, says Trade Minister Todd McClay following meetings with European Union counterparts.

Mr McClay met today with the European Union Vice President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen and Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, in Brussels. He also met with European Parliamentarian Daniel Caspary who has responsibility for New Zealand in its International Trade Committee.

Mr McClay, who is in Europe to progress talks on a European Union (EU)/New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (FTA), says his meetings in Brussels showed continued shared interest in commencing negotiations as soon as the relevant EU processes are completed.

An agreement would also underpin the strong relationship the EU and New Zealand have, reflecting shared interests and values across a wide range of issues” says Mr McClay.

In October last year, Prime Minister John Key and EU Presidents Juncker and Tusk agreed that the two sides would start the process leading to negotiations.

“Vice President Katainen, Commissioner Malmström and I agreed that an EU-New Zealand FTA would bring mutual benefit to our economies. A high quality deal would bring benefits for citizens and SMEs and help to drive innovation and productivity.

With Commissioner Malmström I discussed the importance of stakeholder consultation through the FTA negotiation process. Last year I issued a call for public submissions on the proposed FTA negotiations between New Zealand and the European Union.

The submission period closes on the 29th of February and I would urge all businesses, NGOs, and members of the public who have not already had a say to do so”.

Following this initial call, there will be further opportunities for public input, says Mr McClay.

Mr McClay extended an invitation to Commission Malmström to visit New Zealand as part of the formal negotiations process.

Two way trade with the EU, to June 2015, was valued at $19.6 billion in goods and services. This includes exports of over $8 billion and imports of $11.5 billion in goods and services combined.

The EU is New Zealand’s third largest trading partner and the second largest source of foreign direct investment.

More information on the proposed FTA negotiations with the EU and the call for public submissions can be found on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

ENDS

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