Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP and New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Hon David Parker, have met in Auckland to strengthen trans-Tasman economic links under the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER).

The Ministers noted the strong trade and commercial links and special relationship between Australia and New Zealand, and underscored the effectiveness of the CER in demonstrating the advantages of liberalised trade. Two-way trans-Tasman trade totalled A$27.4 billion in 2017, with two‑way investment reaching A$148 billion.

The Ministers rejected protectionism and agreed on the importance for both nations to continue collaborating to improve the work of the World Trade Organization, as well as to strengthen the rules‑based trade architecture in the region, to benefit both Australian and New Zealand economies.

Mr Ciobo and Mr Parker discussed potential opportunities and issues for Australian and New Zealand producers in the United Kingdom and Europe following Brexit, as well as on a number of trade matters of bilateral interest. They discussed progress in bringing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) into force and welcomed other economies showing interest in joining the Agreement in future.

Mr Ciobo and Mr Parker highlighted new opportunities for businesses in the trans-Tasman Single Economic Market and referred to economic initiatives announced by the Australian and New Zealand Prime Ministers during their leaders’ meeting in Sydney in March. This work will further enhance trans-Tasman integration, including for small and medium‑sized enterprises (SMEs).

Ministers accordingly announced terms of reference for joint work on “Growing the Digital Economy and Maximising Opportunities for SMEs”. This work will identify areas offering the greatest potential benefits to both economies to provide new opportunities and boost productivity. Commencing September 2018 for completion early next year, the study will be undertaken jointly by the Australian and New Zealand Productivity Commissions.

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