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Trade deal with EU takes step forward

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/03/2017

New Zealand has moved a step closer towards a free-trade agreement with the European Union, Trade Minister Todd McClay says.

Mr McClay has met with the EU's Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom in Brussels this week and said, after more than two years of talks, they've completed joint discussions about the scope of a possible deal.

That means both parties will now seek mandates to start negotiations proper.

Mr Clay said he had invited Commissioner Malmstrom to visit New Zealand later in the year and she had accepted.

Both parties would also be looking at ways to engage with the public on trade issues, he said.

The EU is New Zealand's third-largest trading partner, with two-way trade of nearly $20 billion, including $8b of exports from New Zealand.

New Zealand is also currently one of only six World Trade Organisation members that doesn't have a current FTA with Europe and our current trade arrangements were set nearly three decades ago.

Talks began in October 2015.

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