Minister O’Connor to visit China

Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, heads to Beijing tonight for a key ministerial meeting as negotiations for a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) enter into the final stages.

“When concluded, the RCEP Agreement will anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement which covers 16 countries, almost half the world’s population and markets that take more than half our total exports”, Mr O’Connor said.

“It will also provide us a free trade relationship with India, a fast-growing economy with a GDP of more than $2.6 trillion in 2018.

“At a time of rising protectionism and growing pressure on the international rules-based trading system, RCEP will help ensure New Zealand’s exports remain competitive.

“Next week’s meeting comes at a critical point, with just three months to go before leaders aim to wrap up negotiations at a summit in November.”

Following the RCEP meeting, Minister O’Connor will have a series of meetings with his agriculture counterparts.

“These meetings are about fostering our relationship with our number one trading partner - a relationship worth more than $42 billion a year to our economy. They’re an opportunity to recognise the importance of New Zealand’s primary sector in China, and discuss ongoing collaboration, including on maintaining sustainable food and agricultural trade in the region.

“My visit will build on the Prime Minister’s successful visit to Beijing earlier this year, and is an important opportunity to develop relationships with new Chinese agencies”.

Minister O’Connor is travelling from 1-7 August.