New Zealand's Trade Minister Todd McClay:

RCEP trade negotiators to field public question in New Zealand talks

GMT 07:57 2016 Friday ,20 May

Arab Today, arab today RCEP trade negotiators to field public question in New Zealand talks

New Zealand's Trade Minister Todd McClay
Wellington - XINHUA

New Zealand's Trade Minister Todd McClay said Friday he will invite public discussion on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade negotiations in Auckland next month.

Trade representatives from 16 nations are to hold the 13th round of the RCEP negotiations in New Zealand's biggest city from June 12 to 18.

RCEP represented significant trade and investment opportunity for New Zealand, with the 16 countries having a combined population of more than 3 billion people and representing 27 percent of global trade and combined gross domestic product of 23 trillion U.S. dollars, he said.

A public discussion with New Zealand negotiators would be held as part of on-going engagement with stakeholders on New Zealand's trade negotiations and strategy.

"I am committed to developing a more inclusive process for trade negotiations," McClay said in a statement.

"The session will be open to anyone who wants to understand more about how New Zealand actively participates in the development of the trade and economic architecture of the Asia-Pacific region and will provide opportunities to talk directly with our negotiators," he said.

"There will also be an opportunity, open to anyone, to register their views with negotiators from the range of RCEP countries at an earlier session. This session will cover a general overview of the RCEP negotiations followed by a focus on services."

In addition, negotiators from all the RCEP countries would continue to engage with a number of sector specific stakeholders, including businesses on non-tariff barriers.

RCEP aims to broaden and deepen existing free trade agreements between ASEAN and six other countries, including New Zealand.

The New Zealand government was widely criticized for its perceived secrecy surrounding negotiations on the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was signed in Auckland in February.

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