21 November, 2012
New Zealand joins launch of Asian FTA negotiations
Prime Minister John Key has joined other leaders from Asian countries to launch negotiations for a 16-nation regional free trade agreement.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will include the 10 ASEAN states, together with Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand.
“The goal is an outcome that offers New Zealand businesses improved access to key markets across Asia, and robust trade and investment rules,” says Mr Key.
RCEP also offers the opportunity for the first time to negotiate a free trade relationship with Japan, New Zealand’s fourth-largest trading partner.
“New Zealand’s participation in RCEP will complement our existing free trade agreements in Asia,” says Mr Key.
“Along with our participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, it also underlines the Government’s commitment to ensuring New Zealand actively participates in the development of the trade and economic architecture of the Asia‑Pacific region.
“New Zealand will work closely with ASEAN and other partners to make the negotiations a success,” says Mr Key.
RCEP negotiations are expected to start in 2013.
The Prime Minister is in Cambodia for the East Asia Summit, ahead of an official visit to Myanmar on 21-23 November.