Minister attending OECD conference

Hon Nathan Guy, Minister for Primary Industries

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is en route for Paris today to attend the OECD’s Committee of Agriculture Ministerial meeting.

The meeting on 7 and 8 April (Northern Hemisphere-time) brings together the Ministers of Agriculture from OECD countries and partner economies to discuss policies to achieve more productive, sustainable and resilient global food systems.

“New Zealand has a special interest in highlighting the role that open and efficient markets play in helping agriculture to sustainably meet global food demands. Substantial reductions in subsidies, opening up of markets, and more efficient use of resources are all important,” says Mr Guy.

“The outcome of the meeting will provide the broad direction for the OECD’s agricultural research programme and policy advice for the next five to 10 years.”

In addition to taking part in Ministerial discussions, Guy will also facilitate a group discussion and speak at the Ministerial dinner.

Guy’s visit will also focus on progressing a free-trade agreement with the European Union.  In Paris, he will meet with counterparts from a number of EU Member States, and will then travel to Germany for meetings with agriculture sector representatives.

“The EU is a key bilateral partner, and building a comprehensive partnership that includes a free trade agreement (FTA) is a longstanding objective for New Zealand.

“This visit is an opportunity to continue to build understanding of New Zealand’s role in international agricultural trade and investment, and the mutual benefits of a potential FTA for sectors and agri-businesses in both the EU and New Zealand.”

The EU is New Zealand’s third-largest trading partner, with two-way trade valued at NZ$19.6 billion in goods and services in the year to June 2015.

“The benefits of an EU-NZ FTA would include establishing a modern, comprehensive foundation to grow economic and trade opportunities in areas ranging from primary products to capital equipment, manufactured goods, services, innovation and investment.

“It would also level the playing field for New Zealand and EU companies operating in each other’s markets and contribute to a diversified range of markets and sources of investment for New Zealand.”

The Minister will return to New Zealand on 13 April.

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