Minister of Trade and Export Growth David Parker departs later this week for a series of meetings in Chile, Paris and Brussels focused on the outlook for world trade and the EU-NZ Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
In Viña del Mar, Chile, he will attend the annual meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers Responsible for Trade.
He will continue on to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and development (OECD) Ministerial Council Meeting in Paris, along with an informal meeting of World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministers and a meeting of the Ottawa Group to discuss how the WTO can be reformed and strengthened.
“Both the APEC and OECD meetings are focal points for trade ministers to discuss the global outlook, including the systemic challenges facing the WTO,” David Parker said.
“At a time of ever-increasing tensions – both in trade between major players and in the WTO – these meetings are an opportunity to build trust and confidence and identify solutions.”
“By increasing openness and predictability in world trade, the multilateral trading system has provided certainty to businesses and underpinned a remarkable period of growth. There is room to improve the functioning of the WTO, and its rules need updating to reflect new trade and economic realities.”
New Zealand is engaged in efforts to safeguard and strengthen the WTO, including by this year concluding negotiations to control fisheries subsidies and unblocking the impasse affecting the operation of the Appellate Body.
“Along with pushing for resolution of these issues, I am particularly focused on ensuring our trade policies promote inclusive and sustainable growth so the benefits of free and open trade can be more widely shared. This is the longer term key to wider support for trade,” David Parker said.
David Parker will also meet his Inclusive Trade Action Group colleagues from Chile and Canada during the APEC meetings.
“With New Zealand gearing up to host APEC in 2021, the meeting is an early opportunity to signal some of the key themes for New Zealand including deepening regional economic integration and promoting sustainable and inclusive trade.”
Another focus for APEC and the OECD this year is the digital economy.
“I will encourage ministers to endorse and build on the upcoming Christchurch Call championed by the Prime Minister and French President Emmanuel Macron,” he said.
The Call will seek to engage governments and online service providers in a collaborative effort to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.
“To achieve the full benefit of digital transformation it is essential that consumers, businesses, citizens and governments can continue to make use of the internet in a safe, open and secure fashion without compromising human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
In Paris David Parker will also meet Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, French Minister of State for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to discuss progress on the NZ-EU free trade talks, and then travel to Brussels to continue FTA discussions with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and to take stock of progress since the talks were launched in mid-2018.
“We want to meet the ambitious target of substantive conclusion by the end of 2019 proposed by EU Commission President Juncker to Prime Minister Ardern in January this year,” David Parker said.