Wednesday, 16 December 2020 15:55

Minister zooms in on trade

Written by  Staff Reporters
Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor says New Zealand will have to work to keep Europe focused on NZ exports. Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor says New Zealand will have to work to keep Europe focused on NZ exports.

Damien O'Connor in his dual capacity of Agriculture and Trade Minister, officially launched a 250 page report on barriers to horticultural trade before a group of about 60 industry representatives in Wellington last week.

 

He says New Zealand has a lot of work to do at the far end of the world to keep nations focused on the need to support free trade and international rules based trade. 

O'Connor concedes that there will be challenges to get free trade agreements (FTAs) over the line.

"We are in a challenging time. We are probably facing more barriers in spite of our efforts to support the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and to get other economies to support us to get the WTO up to where it belongs," he told Rural News.

"NZ is doing its bit to maintain contact with the relevant ministers despite the pandemic. I have been given a list of European ministers to call over January during my holiday.

"Remaining in contact with those people is really important at a time when they will be very domestic focused."

O'Connor says Covid has changed the world and food security has become a huge focus for many nations.

He says there is a risk that some will put up innappropriate trade barriers to protect their domestic food suppliers.

O'Connor says NZ has to counter that argument and also demonstrate that it can supply high quality, sustainably produced food.

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