WELLINGTON, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Damien O'Connor on Friday welcomed officials from 16 countries attending negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in Auckland.
"RCEP is part of a trade negotiations agenda that is integral to the government's moves to modernize our economy and support businesses and exporters in light of growing global protectionism," O'Connor said in a statement.
RCEP negotiations were launched in November 2012, involving New Zealand, Australia, 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as China, India, Japan and South Korea.
RCEP would embed New Zealand economy in a regional agreement with half the world's population and markets that take more than half of New Zealand's total exports, he said.
The 24th RCEP negotiation round in Auckland closes on Oct. 27.