Minister Peters makes strong pitch to the United States on free trade

In the interest of advancing New Zealand’s exports to the world’s largest economy, New Zealand First leader and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has strongly pushed for a free trade agreement with the United States during his official visit there.

Hours after making a resounding speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C., pitching the idea of a free trade deal, Mr. Peters met with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to make the case that the global superpower was “missing out” on increased trade with the Asia-Pacific region.

The Minister argued that it was in the U.S.’ best interests to become more active in securing free trade deals in the area, emphasizing that their share of exports to Asia-Pacific had noticeably declined over three decades.

In almost 30 years, the U.S. had negotiated FTAs with only three countries in the region: Australia, Singapore and South Korea. In 1990, 17.4 per cent of all goods imported to Asia came from the U.S., but by 2018 that had fallen to just 7.4 per cent.

This means that the U.S. has lost half of its market-share over a 28-year period.

In 2018, President Donald Trump offered bilateral trade agreements with any country willing to be a “fair and reciprocal” trade partner and Mr. Peters has made a clear and strong pitch to the U.S. that New Zealand was ready to accept such offer.

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