WELLINGTON, June 21 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker and European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom on Thursday launched negotiations on a free trade agreement between New Zealand and EU.
"The start of negotiations is an important milestone in New Zealand's trade and economic relations with the EU," Parker said in a statement, adding that a comprehensive, high-quality trade deal will deliver significant benefits to both New Zealanders and EU citizens.
EU is one of New Zealand's largest economic partners, Parker said, adding the two sides share significant history, culture and values, and yet "we currently discriminate against each other on trade. I'm pleased that this anomaly will soon be addressed."
The first round of negotiations is expected to take place in Brussels in July, he said, adding the talks provided a chance to adopt an agreement that would serve as a model for progressive and inclusive trade.
The government launched its Trade for All agenda this year that establishes a mechanism to consult about future deals to help ensure all Kiwis benefit from trade agreements. The public submissions process will run until August 17.