Prime Minister to lead trade mission to Gulf StatesPrime Minister
Prime Minister John Key will lead an 18-member New Zealand business delegation to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait from 26 April to 1 May.
This will be the first visit by a New Zealand Prime Minister to Saudi Arabia.
“The visit is an opportunity to strengthen and grow trade and business links between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and New Zealand,” says Mr Key.
It will also provide the opportunity to progress the conclusion of the NZ-GCC free trade agreement.
“A key priority for me will be talking to key figures in the region about the importance of progressing New Zealand’s Free Trade Agreement with the GCC,” says Mr Key.
The GCC is New Zealand’s fifth largest export destination with goods exports worth $1.9 billion in the year to December 2014. Exports of goods have grown by an average 10 percent per year over the last decade.
“New Zealand has a lot to offer the Gulf region and a number of our businesses already have a strong presence in this market. My visit is aimed at opening doors and helping to further promote New Zealand companies,” says Mr Key.
“It has always been my intention to travel to the Gulf as it is an important region and I’m pleased to be leading a strong business delegation on this visit,” says Mr Key.
A range of meetings are scheduled with senior government leaders across the region.
“These meetings provide an opportunity to discuss our economic relationship and also, given our seat on the UN Security Council, it’s timely to discuss the complex security issues facing the Middle East.”
We have reinforced our commitment to this region in recent years with the opening of our embassy in Abu Dhabi, and the expansion of offices in Dubai and Riyadh.
The United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have also recently opened embassies in New Zealand.
The Prime Minister will be accompanied by New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser.