20 Nov 2012

NZ involved in rival trade deals

10:34 pm on 20 November 2012

The Prime Minister says New Zealand has nothing to lose from being involved in two rival trade deals.

John Key, who is in Cambodia for an East Asian leaders' summit, is involved not only in talks aimed at forging an 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, but also plans for a Southeast Asian Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Mr Key says New Zealand is poised to take advantage of two lucrative free trade agreements potentially worth billions of dollars a year to the economy.

He says he believes the deals are complementary and not part of a power play between the United States and China.

"There are interests in both different camps for fundamentally the same reason. The obvious areas to sort of increase those opportunities and the economic wealth of the nations is to have much greater and freer trade."

It is widely perceived that the Southeast Asian regional partnership, which would include China and India, is a rival agreement to the Trans-Pacific Partnership being driven by the US.

Mr Key says the agreements are looking for greater trade and New Zealand has nothing to lose from being part of both.

The two deals could be worth billions of dollars a year to New Zealand's economy, he says.

China wants more NZ products

China is actively pursuing more trade with New Zealand as it looks to meet a $20 billion two-way trade target.

Prime Minister John Key has held bi-lateral trade talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the East Asia Summit in Cambodia.

Mr Key says Mr Wen called for more New Zealand dairy and wood products to be sold in China.

"And generally just to make sure that we're on track to meet that target ... by 2015. You don't often hear that from such a large counterpart that they want to see more New Zealand products on their shelves and sold to their consumers."

Mr Key says he has been assured that China's economy will continue to grow, creating further opportunities for New Zealand exporters.