New Zealand Embassy, Moscow, Russian Federation

New Zealand Prime Minister and Russian President met in November at APEC

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met during the APEC Leaders meeting in Yokohama, Japan on 12 November. During the meeting Mr Key and Mr Medvedev announced that New Zealand, Russia and its Customs Union partners, Belarus and Kazakhstan, would shortly commence negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA). This announcement follows a Joint Ministerial Statement, below,made by the four countries on the negotiations. The first round of negotiations will commence in early 2011.

Joint Ministerial Statement

Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and New Zealand to Commence Negotiation of a Free Trade Area

The Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, Elvira Nabiullina, Minister of Economic Development and Trade of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Zhanar Aitzhanova, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Sergei Martynov and Minister of Trade of New Zealand Hon Tim Groser agreed to the commencement of negotiations of a comprehensive and modern Free Trade Area (FTA) between their countries.

This is the first time the Customs Union member countries Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have entered full FTA negotiations and as such represents an important step in the development of the Customs Union and its integration into international trade and economic system. This FTA will be of particular significance, since it will add a new and important element into the dynamic and rapidly evolving Asia Pacific economic architecture, further linking the four countries into this economic integration process.

Ministers approved the Joint Report of 5 October 2010 on the FTA made by the experts teams of the four countries, and have directed officials to conduct negotiations and conclude an agreement in accordance with the Report, by the end of 2011.

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