Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth, Phil Twyford, will travel to Canberra today for two days of talks with Australian counterparts on key trade issues.
Minister Twyford will discuss a range of matters, including the ongoing implementation of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER Plus), upgrading the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) and implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
“Supporting our exporters and growing trade are key drivers of our economic recovery from COVID-19, and will help protect New Zealanders from the sharp edges of a global economic downturn,” Minister Twyford said.
“The pandemic has reinforced the importance of continuing to maintain and diversify the trade infrastructure we rely on. By working alongside Australia we can ensure our exporters, businesses, and investors benefit as much as possible from these agreements.
“New Zealand and Australia are working closely together to lift our engagement in the Pacific and deliver on the priorities identified by our partners in the region. PACER Plus, along with its accompanying labour mobility arrangement, is a key vehicle for this, and I’m looking forward to discussing what more we can do on this front.”
He said the trip was also a great opportunity to discuss the AANZFTA agreement, with upgrade negotiations scheduled to conclude by the end of the year.
Minister Twyford will also discuss disarmament and non-proliferation issues with the new Australian Government, in his capacity as Disarmament and Arms Control Minister.
“I am looking forward to touching base with my Australian colleagues to discuss the next steps in our advocacy for a world free of nuclear weapons, particularly following the first Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and in light of the failed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in New York,” Mr Twyford said.
“I will raise the important issue of the ongoing legacy of nuclear testing in the Pacific, and what we, as a Pacific region, can do together to address this.
“I am also interested in exploring cooperation with Australia in areas ranging from non-proliferation challenges such as Iran and North Korea, through to emerging issues like autonomous weapons systems,” he said.
In addition to meetings with Ministerial counterparts, Minister Twyford will also meet relevant academics and think tanks while in Canberra.