Trade Minister to travel to UK and EU to progress free trade agreements

Trade and Export Growth

Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor announced today he will travel to the United Kingdom and European Union next month to progress New Zealand’s respective free trade agreement negotiations.

The decision to travel to Europe follows the agreement reached last week between Minister O’Connor and UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, to accelerate negotiations with the UK.

The trip also follows good overall progress in the tenth round of negotiations with the EU.

“Securing high-quality, comprehensive and inclusive free trade agreements with the EU and the UK will expand our market opportunities.

“It will also provide a level playing field for New Zealand exporters, contribute to New Zealand’s COVID-19 recovery and build a more resilient export profile.

“In line with New Zealand’s Trade for All Agenda, we are pursuing outcomes that will deliver for all New Zealanders,” Damien O’Connor said.

“Against that background, I am intending to travel to London and Brussels in June to progress both agreements in person with my counterparts. I will be travelling in my capacity both as Trade & Export Growth Minister and Agriculture Minister.

“In recent weeks and months, I have had a number of constructive calls and virtual engagements with UK and EU colleagues. I have been encouraged by the ambition that they share with New Zealand.

“Virtual engagements are useful, but to make significant further progress in both negotiations before the European summer, I am visiting the capitals in person to reinforce New Zealand’s expectations and give these talks every chance of success,” Damien O’Connor said.

The visit will be particularly significant in that it will be the first New Zealand Ministerial travel offshore since COVID-19. As with all returning New Zealanders, Minister O’Connor will undertake 14 days of MIQ following the visit. He will also be fully vaccinated before departure.

More details on the visit will be announced in June.