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Trade Minister Tim Groser will visit Washington DC this week to deliver a keynote address on food security and meet with his American counterparts.
Mr Groser’s address will focus on food security and trade policy at a conference convened by the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Food & Agricultural Trade Policy Council.
“At the heart of many of our trade negotiating agendas lies the issue of food security. It is always among the most sensitive issues NZ has to confront in these negotiations, both in the WTO and all our FTA negotiations.
“As the emerging economies move up the income ladder they demand more protein, safer, quality and more varied foods. This is NZ's market niche.
“The old model of equating food security with complete self-sufficiency in domestic food production is under challenge around the world. I will be pleased to state our view and meet many influential policy makers in this area,” Mr Groser says.
Mr Groser will meet with counterparts including US Trade Representative Minister Ron Kirk, the two Chairs of the US Congress Ways and Means Committee and its sub-committee on Trade, White House Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economic Affairs Mike Froman, Chief US Climate Change negotiator Todd Stern, Senior US Treasury officials, and a range of other officials in the trade and climate change policy areas.
“The TPP is important to NZ’s trade future and these meetings will provide the opportunity to take political level soundings on its progress with both the US Minister and the key Congressional leaders in the trade area.”
Mr Groser says New Zealand's interests today go well beyond agriculture. "We have had increasing success in recent years ramping up our high-end services exports, known as 'commercial services' (architectural, legal, engineering design, audio-visual, trade merchanting and other technical services).
“At some $4 billion in 2011, they are almost equal to 10% of our total merchandise exports and complement our traditional services exports in education and tourism. Unlike our traditional exports which are focussed more on emerging economies, particularly in Asia, most of these commercial services exports go to Australia, the US and Europe.”
In this context, Mr Groser will also be meeting Mr Bob Vastine, President of the Coalition of Services Industries to discuss how to move forward the international services agenda.