[21 June/NZ Herald]

Trade talks between New Zealand and the European Union have been formally launched in Wellington with the EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom, saying she was confident a compromise could be reached on issues such as agriculture. Trade Minister, David Parker, hoped a trade agreement could be in place within two years. It would give consumers in New Zealand more choice, create jobs and could see a 50 percent increase in the trade of goods. Agriculture was expected to be the main issue. Ms Malmstrom said it was a difficult topic in all trade agreements she had been a part of, and in all of those cases they had found a compromise. Mr Parker said these problems would be solved early in the process. Two way trade between New Zealand and the EU was currently worth $21.5 billion and $16 billion without the UK. Ms Malmstrom also referred to the brewing trade war as a major concern