2013 Australia - New Zealand Closer Economic Relations (CER) Ministerial Meeting, which aims to provide ministers with the opportunity to review the Australia-New Zealand trade relationship and consider ways to extend and deepen it, was held in Sydney on Wednesday.
New Zealand is Australia's seventh largest trading partner and eighth largest source of foreign investment.
According to Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement was Australia's first bilateral free trade agreement. Two-way trade in goods between Australia and New Zealand expanded at an average annual rate of around 8 percent since CER entered into force in 1983.
Australian Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb and his New Zealand counterpart, Tim Groser, will hold this year's CER Ministerial Meeting. And they will be joined by Australian Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos, the New Zealand Minister for Economic Development Steven Joyce, and the New Zealand Minister of Commerce Craig Foss.
According to the arrangements of this meeting, it will discuss economic integration, including progress on the Single Economic Market agenda which aims to create a seamless trans-Tasman regulatory environment for business, investors and consumers.
This annual meeting will also discuss and coordinate approaches to key multilateral and regional trade negotiations. These include the WTO Ministerial meeting in Bali in December and the two main Asia-Pacific free trade negotiations in which both Australia and New Zealand are active participants, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership ( RCEP).
And the CER Ministerial Meeting will also review progress on a joint government response to the Australian and New Zealand Productivity Commissions' 2012 recommendations for shaping future trans-Tasman economic links.
"This year marks the 30th Anniversary of CER which is one of the world's most comprehensive, effective and multilaterally compatible free trade agreements," Robb said.
"Our experience with CER and the 2010 ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA have earned Australia and New Zealand a seat at the table on institution-building and economic integration in Asia," he said.