25 February, 2013
PM to strengthen trade ties with Latin America
Prime Minister John Key will lead a trade delegation to Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Brazil next week as part of the Government’s increased focus on strengthening bilateral relations, and capitalising on trade opportunities, with the Latin America nations.
Mr Key will be the first foreign leader to be hosted by the new President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, and the first New Zealand Prime Minister to make an official visit to Colombia.
“Latin America is one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic regions in the world,” says Mr Key.
Combined, GDP for the four countries is forecast to grow at just above 4 per cent for the next few years. The countries have a combined population of 372 million and a combined GDP of around US$4 trillion.
“Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Brazil are countries where New Zealand’s skills and expertise in areas like agri-business, renewable energy and education are a natural fit. They are also markets which present valuable opportunities for New Zealand businesses looking to export their services and expand their operations.
“The four countries, like New Zealand, are big producers of the food the rest of the world wants, particularly beef and dairy products. There is a lot of scope for greater collaboration between our countries as we focus on meeting the global demand for reliable, efficiently produced food and beverages,” says Mr Key.
In addition to meeting President Peña Nieto, Mr Key will hold bilateral talks with the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos Calderón; Chilean President, Sebastián Piñera; and the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff.
“My meetings with President Peña Nieto and President Piñera will be opportunities to discuss our countries’ progress on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, which leaders are aiming to conclude by October.
“We are pursuing an ambitious, high-quality agreement with the potential to boost trade, employment and economic growth in our countries.
“Colombia has made huge strides during the past decade, and has a sharp focus on strengthening its ties with the Asia-Pacific Region. Like New Zealand, Colombia is a strong advocate for trade liberalisation and I am looking forward to discussing with President Santos ways our countries can cooperate in this area, both bilaterally and through forums like the World Trade Organisation.
Mr Key says Brazil is an emerging global economic power, and a country where more New Zealand firms should seek opportunities.
“Our trade with Brazil is modest, but there is a lot of room for both countries to do more, particularly in agricultural collaboration and specialised manufacturing.
“New Zealand is also well-placed to be a hub for Brazilian businesses branching out to the Asia-Pacific, and we have the credentials to attract greater numbers of young Brazilians wanting a world-recognised tertiary education.”
Mr Key will depart New Zealand on March 4, accompanied by Mrs Bronagh Key. Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy will also travel to Latin America. Mr Key will return to New Zealand by Royal New Zealand Air Force 757 on March 14.