International Business Forum welcomes discussions towards Russia FTA

by | Jun 1, 2010 | Media Releases

The NZ International Business Forum (NZIBF) today welcomed the announcement by Trade Minister Tim Groser from Moscow that New Zealand and Russia, together with its customs union partners Belarus and Kazakhstan were in discussions over a future free trade agreement (FTA).

“This is another great example of innovative New Zealand trade policy,” said NZIBF Executive Director Stephen Jacobi, speaking from Paris.

“Russia’s influence on the global economy is set to grow significantly.  At present New Zealand’s economic relationship with Russia and its partners is significantly under-developed.  An FTA could enable us to make an early start in developing new trade and investment”.

Mr Jacobi said the negotiation with Russia and its partners was of particular interest since they had not yet joined the World Trade Organisation, although an accession agreement with New Zealand was concluded in 2003.

“We hope Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will be able to join the WTO in the near future. Meantime our common membership of APEC and Russia’s hosting of APEC in 2012 provide a good platform for working together.”

Mr Jacobi urged the Government to ensure that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade was resourced to take the initiative forward.

“With negotiations currently underway with Korea, India and eight members of the extended Trans Pacific Partnership, our officials have their hands more than full.  The negotiation with Russia will be no less complex but if handled properly could be of enormous future value for business and the country as a whole”.

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