Good Progress Made in Introductory Free Trade Talks

  • Phil Goff

Trade Minister Phil Goff says that an initial meeting with Gulf Cooperation Council states and New Zealand negotiators for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) made good progress.

Mr Goff was speaking from Egypt, where he is currently on a trade and defence visit. The first meeting with the Gulf States (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain) was to scope the likely nature of an FTA,” Mr Goff said.

“Agreement was reached that the talks should aim for a comprehensive and high quality trade outcome.

“This would include elimination of tariffs on most goods including agricultural exports of key concern to New Zealand.

“Services and investment should be included, going beyond what was likely to be achieved under the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Discussions would include trade and environment, and trade and labour issues.

“No insuperable obstacles appear to exist in reaching an agreement and it is hoped that his could be achieved within a relatively short time frame.

“New Zealand’s exports to the Gulf States reached $720 million this year and are continuing to grow.

“An FTA will not only cut tariffs, and help remove other obstacles to trade. It also creates a focus on and a positive environment for fostering a further growth in New Zealand exports in goods and services to the region,” Mr Goff said.