Saturday, May 25, 2024

Trade Minister to attend WTO talks in Switzerland

Trade and Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor, will visit Europe this week to discuss the role of agricultural trade in climate change and food security, WTO reform and New Zealand agricultural innovation.

Mr O’Connor will tomorrow depart for Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum and associated World Trade Organization (WTO) meetings in Davos, before travelling to Berlin for the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture and meetings with German government and industry leaders.

“The global economy is moving through strong headwinds, which will buffet New Zealand this year,” Mr O’Connor said. 

“We’re focussed on supporting our exporters and in particular our primary industries to adapt as issues like climate change challenge all economies. We will also continue to work with like-minded partners to reform the WTO, which will provide stability and benefit for all members.”

The World Economic Forum brings together civil society, business and political leaders annually to discuss some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

“This year’s World Economic Forum theme ‘Cooperation in a Fragmented World’,” resonates for New Zealand especially as we continue to reconnect with the world following the pandemic,” he said.

At the forum, Mr O’Connor will participate in a panel on indigenous trade, highlighting New Zealand’s Trade for All agendaHe will also hold bilateral meetings with trade counterparts, attend a Swiss-hosted WTO mini-ministerial meeting and a Canada-hosted ‘Ottawa Group’ session on WTO reform. 

“An area of particular priority to New Zealand is the return to a well-functioning dispute settlement system as a critical and foundational pillar of the WTO. The Ottawa Group meeting presents the opportunity to discuss how we work towards this goal with our partners,” the Minister said. 

He said the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture provides a platform to showcase New Zealand’s global leadership and innovation in sustainable agriculture.

“The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture is the world’s largest informal conference of agriculture ministers and industry. New Zealand’s participation enhances our credentials as a global leader in agricultural innovation along with our exporting brand. I’m looking forward to discussing partnership opportunities for climate research in agriculture.”

He said both meetings will provide important opportunities to lobby for the ratification of the EU-NZ Free Trade Agreement as well as for New Zealand’s candidate for Director General of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), Dr John Barker. 

Mr O’Connor will be travelling from 17 January to 25 January.

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