WELLINGTON, March 3 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand is ramping up its push to secure a stalled trade agreement with the Arab states, with Foreign Minister Murray McCully announcing Friday he will travel to the Gulf next week.
McCully, whose visit comes hard on the heels of Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy, said discussion of the free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states would be a priority.
McCully said in a statement that he would hold meetings in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Bahrain.
Other priority issues would include regional security and cooperation in areas such as renewable energy.
The GCC, comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, is New Zealand's eighth largest trading partner, with annual two-way trade exceeding 3.2 billion NZ dollars (2.25 billion U.S. dollars).
"The relationship with the GCC has grown remarkably in a very short space of time, underpinned by 42 air services per week between the Gulf and New Zealand, an increase of 50 percent since 2013," McCully said.
"Our economies are highly complementary, and there is huge potential for greater cooperation."
A steady train of New Zealand ministers have been visiting the Gulf states in the hope of kickstarting the stalled trade agreement.