Reform of the World Trade Organization focus of North American talks

Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker heads to Washington DC and Ottawa next week to advance New Zealand’s interests in reform of the World Trade Organization and global trade rules. 

In Washington he will meet US Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer and other key trade figures. 

“The US is New Zealand’s third-largest individual market, worth nearly NZ$8.5 billion to kiwi exporters. I will be discussing how we can grow our trade relationship and work together to address shared challenges in other export markets,” David Parker said.

“As WTO members consider reforms to the global trading system, it will be important to take account of the world’s largest economy, the US, so I’ll be discussing New Zealand’s ideas with Ambassador Lighthizer.   

“I will also take the opportunity to press for an exemption for New Zealand exporters from the US tariffs on steel and aluminium.” 

David Parker will then fly to Ottawa to meet representatives of like-minded WTO members to discuss reform of the multilateral trading system. 

“As a small export oriented economy, New Zealand gains huge value from a set of common and enforceable global trade rules. We are doing our utmost to safeguard the WTO, as well as ensuring it is modernised and strengthened. 

“I will be working with the other 12 Ministers to ensure we send a strong signal of support to the WTO and its membership. New Zealand is generating concrete ideas on how to improve the WTO’s monitoring, dispute settlement and negotiating functions.” 

The countries represented are Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the EU, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore and Switzerland.  

In Ottawa he will also meet Canadian ministerial counterparts, including International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr, to discuss ways to deepen the bilateral relationship.  

“Canada is a close partner of New Zealand, and we instinctively share the same views on many issues. I look forward to discussing matters of importance to us both, including trade.”