WELLINGTON, June 26 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay said on Monday that he believed the time was right to launch trade talks with Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia as part of the government's push for better access in Latin America.
McClay leaves on Tuesday to attend the Pacific Alliance leaders summit where a trade deal will be top of his agenda. The Pacific Alliance is a regional integration and trading bloc.
"We've been talking to the four Pacific Alliance countries about better access for Kiwi exporters for the last two years. With direct flights to South America, there is increasing opportunity for New Zealanders to do more in these growing markets," McClay said.
New Zealand currently has more than 1.1 billion NZ dollars (0.8 billion U.S. dollars) of two-way trade with these Alliance countries, but the exporters face high tariffs rates on many products, including dairy, which is currently New Zealand's largest export.
"A high-quality free trade agreement (FTA) with Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru as part of the Pacific Alliance trading bloc presents a huge opportunity for New Zealand companies exporting to this fast-growing region because there is so much room for growth," McClay said.
Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru are home to 221 million consumers and have a huge combined GDP of 3.85 trillion U.S. dollars, he said.
"Under Trade Agenda 2030, the government's new trade strategy, we have set the ambitious target of covering 90 percent of our goods trade under FTAs and the Pacific Alliance is an important part of reaching that goal," McClay said.