New Zealand welcomes visiting WTO Director General

Trade and Export Growth

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala visits New Zealand this week.

Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor said the WTO was essential to New Zealand as a small export-dependent trading nation.

 “New Zealand’s economic security depends on our ability to trade. Our goods exports have lifted 35 per cent since 2017 and we must do everything we can to see that revenue trend continue,” Damien O’Connor said.

 “I’ve had several meetings with Dr Okonjo-Iweala since she became Director General, and am very much looking forward to hosting her.

 “The Director General’s visit presents another opportunity to reaffirm our support for the multilateral rules-based trading system and strengthening the WTO. This something we have a long-standing record for.

 “We also aim to progress issues of key importance to New Zealand such as trade and climate, and levelling the playing field for New Zealand exports.”

 While in New Zealand, the Director General will meet with the Prime Minister, Ministers for Trade and Economic Growth, Finance, and Foreign Affairs, and New Zealand business representatives, including wāhine Māori business leaders.

 “An area of particular priority to New Zealand is reducing agriculture subsidies, which are environmentally harmful and distort trade. In addressing them trade can play its part in finding global solutions to food insecurity and climate change.”

 Dr Okonjo-Iweala’s visit on Wednesday and Thursday follows the successful Ministerial Conference (MC12) in June in Geneva, where the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement was landed, an outcome that was facilitated by Damien O’Connor. Tackling fish subsidies is a long-standing New Zealand priority to prevent depletion of global fish stocks.