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English heading to Europe

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/01/2017
<p>Bill English</p> © Bloomberg

Bill English

Prime Minister Bill English will make his first overseas trip as the country's leader next week, heading to Europe to talk up trade links.

Mr English leaves on Monday for nearly nine days in Brussels, London and Berlin.

He will meet with three European presidents, British Prime Minister Theresa May, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"This is an opportunity to exchange views on a range of issues facing Europe and the world, and to reaffirm that New Zealand remains a committed friend and partner," Mr English said in a statement on Thursday.

"The focus of my trip will be to advance New Zealand business and trade opportunities in the region, including starting the negotiations on an FTA with the European Union this year."

He was also interested in the British prime minister's views on Brexit and would reaffirm New Zealand's commitment to working towards a high-quality trade deal when the UK was in a position to negotiate, he said.

Trade Minister Todd McClay will accompany Mr English in Brussels and Foreign Minister Murray McCully will attend in London and Berlin.

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