WELLINGTON, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- A New Zealand trade and agriculture delegation headed to Beijing on Thursday for a key ministerial meeting as negotiations for a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) enter into the final stages.
Minister for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O'Connor, said in a statement that the RCEP agreement will anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement which covers 16 countries, almost half the world's population and markets that take more than half of the country's total exports.
It will also provide New Zealand a free trade relationship with India, the minister said.
"At a time of rising protectionism and growing pressure on the international rules-based trading system, RCEP will help ensure New Zealand's exports remain competitive," he said, adding that next week's meeting comes at a critical point, with just three months to go before leaders aim to wrap up negotiations at a summit in November.
Following the RCEP meeting, O'Connor will have a series of meetings with his agricultural counterparts during his seven-day China visit.
These meetings provide an opportunity to promote New Zealand's primary sector in China, and discuss ongoing collaboration, including on maintaining sustainable food and agricultural trade in the region, O'Connor said.