O’Connor to Thailand for trade talks

Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, heads to Thailand today to attend a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting, as negotiations into the final stages.

“At times of rising protectionism and growing pressure on the international rules based trading system, agreements like RCEP will help ensure New Zealand’s exports remain competitive,” Mr O’Connor said.

“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. 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”. 

The meeting this weekend in Bangkok comes at a critical point in negotiations, with just two months to go before leaders aim to announce conclusion of negotiations in November.

Minister O’Connor will also attend the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Economic Ministers meetings, and conduct meetings with key Thai government counterparts to advance bilateral trade and economic interests.  

“ASEAN is one of New Zealand’s most important relationships. It represents our fourth largest trading partner.

“The meetings with ASEAN and other key partners are an important chance to discuss our free trade agreement with ASEAN; the ASEAN Australia New Zealand FTA, and discuss how we can address regional economic challenges collectively. It is also an opportunity to seek further progress in our already significant trade and economic relationship with Thailand.”

Minister O’Connor is travelling from 7-13 September.