Wednesday, 13 October 2021 06:55

O'Connor's overseas odyssey

Written by  Staff Reporters
Trade, Export and Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor. Trade, Export and Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor continued his overseas odyssey in the past week with multiple meetings in the US, Europe and Ireland - all aimed at sorting out trade issues which in the case of Europe dairy is a major issue.

The main purpose of his trip is to engage with the European Union (EU) with whom NZ is currently endeavouring to negotiate a free trade agreement (FTA). The negotiations have been progressing slowly and as yet the EU has not come up with a better offer than the one former EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan offered a year ago. That offer was widely condemned by NZ politicians and farming leaders as grossly inadequate and insulting.

On his way to Europe, O'Connor stopped off in Washington, D.C. to meet with the US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, becoming the first N government minister to visit the US since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Before leaving on his trip, Minister O'Connor said he'd be talking to US counterparts about how we can work together to keep our bilateral trade and economic relationship on its current growth trajectory. The US is NZs third largest trading partner.

In the past week, Damien O'Connor has held meetings in Sweden, Ireland and France.

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