New Zealand Embassy Tokyo, Japan

PM to attend APEC, visit Japan

Prime Minister John Key will attend the 20th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' meeting in Russia this week, followed by a visit to Japan to mark the country's 60 years of diplomatic relations with New Zealand.

Mr Key will join leaders from the other 20 APEC economies to discuss trade and investment liberalisation, regional economic integration, strengthening food security and establishing reliable supply chains, as well as cooperation to foster innovative growth.

"The Asia-Pacific region is regarded as the engine for future global growth.  Economic growth rates across the APEC economies are already ahead of the world average.  New Zealand's current and future economic prosperity depends on how successfully we can integrate into this region," Mr Key says.

"APEC presents an important opportunity for leaders to reaffirm their commitment to strengthen regional growth, support the multilateral trading system and discuss ways to advance APEC's vision for a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP)."

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Trade Minister Tim Groser will also travel to Vladivostok to attend Ministerial meetings as part of APEC Leaders week.

APEC includes Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong China, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the United States and Viet Nam.

At the conclusion of APEC, Mr Key will head to Japan on Sunday for a three-day visit to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

"Japan is our fourth-largest partner in trade and investment, and a major partner in tourism, education, science, sport, cultural and city-to-city links.  Both our countries are committed to the development of a stable and prosperous region," Mr Key says.

"I look forward to meeting Prime Minister Noda to mark the 60th anniversary.  We will explore opportunities to strengthen our extensive bilateral ties and discuss regional issues of mutual interest."

Mr Key will visit the tsunami-affected Tohoku region to commemorate the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake, and acknowledge the support Japan and New Zealand provided each other in the aftermath of their natural disasters last year.

He will be accompanied by 11 Japanese-language students from Christchurch, who will be billeted with families in the Tohoku region.

Mr Key will be accompanied by Mrs Bronagh Key on his visit to both countries, departing on 6 September and returning to New Zealand on 12 September.

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