Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Govt moots trade deal with UAE

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Trade Ministry wants to hear public opinion on entering a trade agreement with United Arab Emirates.
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The government wants to hear what the trade sector and the general populace think about a trade agreement with the United Arab Emirates.

This was announced by Trade Minister Todd McClay after a meeting with UAE Trade Minister Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi.

The meeting took place at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi.

“The UAE is a top-20 export market for New Zealand, and our largest market in the Middle East, with exports increasing 17% in the last year,” McClay said.

He said a deal with the UAE could help progress towards a greater goal – a free trade agreement with the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC).  The UAE is a member of the six-state GCC, along with wealthy neighbours like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

“Exploratory discussions [with the UAE] are progressing well, and a decision on launching negotiations will be taken later this year, informed by those discussions and public submissions,” McClay said.

Approximately three-quarters of all New Zealand trade is done with countries with whom it already has an FTA.  Of the remaining one quarter, the GCC is widely thought to be one of the most likely candidates for success,

NZ is also seeking an FTA with India, which is thought to be a difficult job but is high on the government’s agenda.  

However, officials are resigned to making little progress on the biggest prize – an FTA with the United States – because of formidable counter-lobbying and political gridlock in Washington.

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