Australia-New Zealand: initiatives to accelerate economic integration

Posted by Josette Dunn on 21st April 2010

Australia and New Zealand have agreed on a series of actions to foster closer collaboration on trade and investment promotion to global markets.Australian Minister for Trade Simon Crean said it was an important next step in building on the success of the trans-Tasman trade and economic partnership.

“This series of bilateral initiatives is designed to accelerate economic integration between our two countries.

“Following meetings between Prime Minister Rudd and Prime Minister Key last year, and between myself and New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser last August, the two countries’ trade and investment agencies have developed a series of action items which will take the relationship further.

“The Closer Economic Relations agreement (CER) with New Zealand remains our most open and successful free trade agreement. These next steps will expand and accelerate our progress towards a single economic market and reduce costs for businesses in both countries.”

Over the past two decades, merchandise trade between Australia and New Zealand has grown at an annual average of 7.0 per cent. Two-way trade is currently worth A$22 billion (NZ$27 B). Annual two-way investment between Australia and New Zealand stands at over A$93 billion (NZ$112 B).

Mr Crean and New Zealand’s Minister of Trade Tim Groser made the announcement from Uruguay where they are participating in a Cairns Group Meeting which is a forum of 19 agriculture exporting nations.

Mr Groser said substantial progress had been made on greater collaboration on trade between the two countries and that the proposed initiatives promised to further strengthen and deepen ties between the countries.

“Although New Zealand and Australia have a long history of competition, we also have a lot in common. In the current economic environment, greater integration internationally has the potential to bring significant benefits for our businesses and for the wider economy,” he said.

“Our experience of working together, for example in the biotechnology sector in the United States has shown us that we have complementary capabilities that allow us in many cases to collaborate.

“We look forward to working together more closely for the benefit of Australian and New Zealand business.”

The Australian and New Zealand Governments’ trade and investment agencies, Austrade and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), have been tasked with implementing a series of initiatives.

The proposed initiatives include:

* New Zealand membership of the Australian State Ministerial Council on International Trade
* Collaboration between Austrade and NZTE on ASEAN-specific projects
* Co-operation on joint missions following the success of the first joint Australia-New Zealand Clean Energy Business Mission to the United States and Chile in March 2009.

Austrade and NZTE are already working closely in other areas of business, and will explore additional initiatives to maximise trade outcomes following the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) which entered into force this year. This includes joint marketing and promotional activities in ASEAN countries.