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NZ & Saudi seek early completion of GCC FTA

Hon Todd McClay

Minister of Trade


29 September 2016

NZ & Saudi seek early completion of GCC FTA

Trade Minister Todd McClay and his Saudi Arabian counterpart, the Minister of Commerce and Investment, have agreed to work towards early completion of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - New Zealand free trade agreement (FTA).

"This is an extremely pleasing outcome from my mission to Saudi Arabia. We can now see a way forward towards the completion of the FTA," says Mr McClay.

"The next step is for GCC countries to meet and for my officials to get together with the GCC Secretariat, as well as member countries, to finalise agreement."

Two-way goods trade with the GCC region (our sixth largest trading partner) is worth over $3 billion annually, which includes over $1 billion of trade with Saudi Arabia.

New Zealand exports approximately 5,000 tonnes of beef to the Kingdom each year and accommodates around 3,000 Saudi students who currently study in New Zealand.

"There is clear enthusiasm about the potential for greater cooperation between our highly complementary economies, especially in education and food security,” says Mr McClay.

Mr McClay's two day visit was to jointly chair the biennial Saudi-New Zealand Joint Ministerial Commission. He also held bilateral meetings with HRH the Deputy Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister; the Minister of Finance; the Minister of Commerce and Investment; the Minister of Education; the Minister of Agriculture, Water, and Environment; and the Deputy Minister of Economy and Planning.

In Riyadh Mr McClay opened the foundational meeting of the Saudi Arabia / New Zealand Business Council, which was established in April this year by the New Zealand Middle East Business Council and the Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

This Business Council provides a regular forum for discussion and promotion of economic, industrial and technological co-operation between New Zealand and Saudi companies.

“Today’s foundation meeting of the Business Council marks an important milestone in New Zealand and Saudi Arabia’s relationship."

Mr McClay visited Riyadh accompanied by 12 New Zealand companies pursuing joint business opportunities in the Gulf.

The joint statement between Minister McClay and the Minister of Commerce and Investment can be found on MFAT's website.

ends

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