PM welcomes signal of support for European Union FTA from President Macron

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was greatly heartened by positive comments made today by President Macron of France for the proposed New Zealand European Free Trade Agreement  (FTA) following their bilateral in Paris today.

The two leaders met for the first time at an hour long meeting at Elysee Palace.

“One of my key objectives in visiting Paris was the European Union FTA,” said Jacinda Ardern.

“New Zealand has been seeking a mandate for some time. It represents $15 billion worth of trade so it’s hugely significant to us. We anticipated that given the vote was coming soon, that we needed to build support for that mandate as broadly as possible.”

The European Union is due to discuss the mandate for the New Zealand European Union FTA at a meeting later next month.

“We know there have been roadblocks in the past, but the sense I have come away with today is that our focus on building an agreement that models environmental standards and social outcomes is something France is very much in support of so I was very heartened by the response of President Macron today.”

The two leaders also discussed climate change, and the Pacific during their talks.

“New Zealand and France are closely aligned on many global issues. Within the EU France represents possibly the greatest interest in the Pacific so to be able to discuss some of the issues that exist in that region, particularly climate change, was very important to us.

“We are both committed to driving global action on climate change. We’re both committed to the security and prosperity of the Pacific region.”

The leaders agreed to cooperate on promoting climate-friendly agricultural technologies and processes.

In addition, the Prime Minister announced New Zealand’s intention to convene a high level meeting of the Towards Carbon Neutrality Coalition later this year to promote cooperation on the transition to low-carbon economies.

“I also invited President Macron to visit New Zealand and I very much look forward to hosting him should his schedule allow it,” said Jacinda Ardern.

While in Paris, the Prime Minister also met with French and New Zealand business representatives and delivered a speech outlining New Zealand’s vision for global action on climate change at the prestigious Paris Institute of Political Studies.

Jacinda Ardern will visit Germany on Tuesday 17 April and meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel, before travelling to London to participate in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting from 18 April.