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17/2/2016 — General
McClay sees Brussels FTA talks as positive

Trade Minister Todd McClay said yesterday that a European Union-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement would mutually benefit economic growth and productivity and support New Zealand businesses.

This followed a meeting he held with EU counterparts.

McClay met with the European Union Vice President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen and Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, in Brussels. He also met with European Parliamentarian Daniel Caspary who has responsibility for NZ in its International Trade Committee.

The Minister, who is in Europe to progress talks on a European Union (EU) / New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (FTA), said his meetings in Brussels showed continued shared interest in starting negotiations as soon as the relevant EU processes are completed.

An agreement, he said, would also underpin the strong relationship the EU and NZ have, reflecting shared interests and values across a wide range of issues.

In October last year, Prime Minister John Key and EU Presidents Juncker and Tusk agreed that the two sides would start the process leading to negotiations.

McClay called for public submissions on the proposed FTA negotiations between NZ and the EU. The submission period closes on February 29 and “I would urge all businesses, NGOs, and members of the public who have not already had a say to do so”.

Following this initial call, there will be further opportunities for public input, he said.

He said two way trade with the EU, to June 2015, was valued at $19.6 billion in goods and services. This includes exports of over $8 B and imports of $11.5 B in goods and services combined.

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Todd McClay.