Tim Groser talks up free trade prospects in Colombia and elsewhere in South America

Trade Minister Tim Groser heads off to Colombia this coming week to fast-track moves to open formal free trade talks with the fast-growing Latin American nation. A Colombian FTA was put on the agenda during Prime Minister John Key’s recent official visit.

Groser high-lighted agricultural technology, services and niche manufacturing as the likely winners from moves to increase New Zealand’s trade links with South America.

Speaking on TV3’s “The Nation”, Groser also high-lighted “this other thing that’s emerging with Mexico as the largest player, Columbia, Chile and Peru, is called the Pacific Alliance.”

“Both we and the Australians feel we’re a natural fit for these people, they are outward looking, they believe in integrating their economies, they have appalling pasts, military dictatorships, terrorism, but they’re all determined to move into the real world.”

In his interview on “The Nation”  Groser conceded that an end to protectionist agriculture tariffs in Japan now that it has agreed to join the Trans Pacific Partnership talks could still take 10 years.

He acknowledged the Russian free trade agreement talks were making slow progress. “We’re trying to get some clean decisions, we understand they’re a great country, they’re doing it with us for the same reason the Chinese did it with us, which is they see a very progressive small open economy, but we’re highly experienced in these matters and their system is simply grappling with something they haven’t seen before.”

Groser also said he intended to stand at the next election. “It’s certainly my intention if I’ve got the support of the Prime Minister and the party.”


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