O’Connor to Thailand and India

Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, heads to Thailand today to attend a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting on 1 November which will be followed by a Leaders’ Summit on 4 November attended by Prime Minister Ardern.

“An RCEP Agreement will anchor New Zealand in an agreement with half the world’s population and markets that take more than half our total exports,” Mr O’Connor said.

“RCEP is also recognised as a counterbalance to the rising protectionism that threatens the global rules-based trading system.”

The meeting in Bangkok on Friday will be an opportunity to meet with counterparts and continue negotiating on outstanding issues.

Minister O’Connor will then visit India to conduct meetings with Indian government counterparts to discuss outcomes from the RCEP meetings, and to advance bilateral trade and economic opportunities. Minister O’Connor will also meet with New Zealand companies exporting to India, and with Indian industry and company representatives to discuss potential areas of collaboration.

“India’s significance to New Zealand is growing, reflecting its political and economic importance. India is currently New Zealand’s 11th largest trading partner – with two way trade worth about $3 billion,” he said.

“The visit is an important opportunity to build relationships with Indian counterparts and explore ways for New Zealand and India to work more closely together.”

Minister O’Connor is traveling from 31 October-8 November.

Media contact: Nikki Prendergast, 021 811 248, [email protected]

Notes for editors

RCEP was launched in November 2012 as an ASEAN initiative. There are 16 countries involved in RCEP: the 10 members of ASEAN-Brunei-Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam plus the six countries with which ASEAN has free trade agreements-Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand. These six countries are known as the ASEAN free trade partners.

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