13 Nov 2018

Trade, security on Ardern's agenda at APEC summit

11:51 am on 13 November 2018

Trade and security issues are expected to be at the top of the Prime Minister's agenda when she attends summits in Singapore and Papua New Guinea this week.

11 October 2018. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson have launched a new strategy that champions equaility for NZ women and girls in sport and active recreation.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Jacinda Ardern leaves this morning for the East Asia Summit in Singapore where she will meet regional leaders, including a first meeting with Australia's new leader Scott Morrison.

Among the topics expected to be raised are North Korea, contending territorial claims in the South China Sea and climate change.

"The East Asia Summit has a role to play in preventing and solving the regions most pressing strategic risks, Ms Ardern said.

The enhanced trade deal known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is also being discussed and it's hoped progress towards a deal will be announced.

The agreement involves the 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the six countries which have free trade deals with the group, including India, which New Zealand has been struggling to reach a trade deal with.

The proposed agreement would cover countries with half the world's population and more than a quarter of its trade and economic output.

Ms Ardern is using the East Asia Summit as an opportunity to meet leaders she might have more normally met at the APEC summit, which follows the Singapore gathering.

She will spend less than a day in Papua New Guinea at the APEC Leaders' Summit.

Papua New Guinea is APEC's smallest member and the cost of staging the summit, including the purchase of 40 Maserati luxury cars to transport outrage in a country where many live in poverty

New Zealand has given $15 million to help PNG stage the summit, to which Pacific Island leaders have been invited to attend as observers.

China's leader Xi Jinping is set to attend, but neither Donald Trump nor Vladimir Putin will be there.