NZ-Russia Investigating FTA

June 1, 2010 International FinanceNew Zealand Finance

Government, old and newThe Governments of Russia and New Zealand have commenced preparation for future negotiations of a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

On May 31st the Government of New Zealand released a statement announcing the commencement of groundwork for the eventual negotiations of a FTA between New Zealand and Russia. The statement was released shortly after a meeting between Tim Groser, Trade Minister of New Zealand, and Elvira Nabiullina, Russian Minister of Economic Development, held in Moscow. Tim Groser summarized the achievements of the meeting, saying, “Russia has agreed to proceed towards a formal trade agreement with New Zealand, subject to a satisfactory outcome of scoping discussions.”

According to a New Zealand Government statement, a FTA with Russia could be of great benefit to New Zealand. Russia currently imports in excess of US 30 billion in food annually, which represents a sizeable market opportunity for New Zealand exporters. In a joint statement released on June 1st, both Ministers claimed that the economies of Russia and New Zealand are complementary, with great prospective for cooperative growth. Tim Groser also pointed to the potential of agritech, clothing, specialized manufacturing, ICT, and tourism firms offering services to a Russian market. Currently, two-way trade between the nations has reached USD 300 million.

The two Ministers are expected to instruct their respective Governments to prepare objectives and scopes for the possible FTA. Both Governments will also call for public submissions on the prospective agreement.

Photo by Velvet Android