Deutsche Press Agentur | 2 November 2009
New Zealand and Gulf states finalize free trade pact
Wellington - New Zealand and the six states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have concluded a free trade agreement, Trade Minister Tim Groser announced Monday.
But details of the deal, involving Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, remain under wraps until a legal verification process is completed and ministers sign it next year, Groser said.
He hailed the deal, which follows six rounds of negotiations, as a significant achievement for New Zealand securing new and improved access into important Middle East markets.
’This free trade agreement will provide a strong platform for export growth into a region that is likely to emerge strongly from the global recession,’ Groser said.
He said New Zealand exports to the GCC had risen 218 per cent over the last nine years to 1.3 billion New Zealand dollars (923 million US dollars) and two-way trade was worth 3.85 billion New Zealand dollars.
Groser said New Zealand’s major exports to the region were dairy products, sheep meat and wood.