[9 May/NBR]

Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Peters, was confident the EU would agree to start trade negotiations with New Zealand when it meets on May 22. He said serious progress had been made to the extent they believed there wold be an announcement from the EU in respect to a free-trade negotiation start. Jacinda Ardern discussed the proposed deal with French President, Emmanuel Marcon, as she lobbied for the EU to agree to start negotiations. The French Ambassador to New Zealand, Florence Jeanblanc-Risler, said any deal between New Zealand and Europe would look significantly different to the CPTPPA. Mr Peters added that while he was confident talks would begin soon with the EU, he did not know how long it would take to conclude a trade deal. He noted that any extra money allocated in next week’s budget to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and trade would help strengthen it and provide more support for these types of trade negotiations.