Prime Minister John Key is to lead a high-level New Zealand delegation pushing for free trade and regional economic integration at the series of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Russia this week.
Key is to join leaders from 20 other APEC economies at the 20th APEC leaders meeting in Vladivostock, where he would also take part in talks on 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," Key said in a statement Monday.
"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 would also travel to Vladivostok on Thursday to attend ministerial meetings as part of APEC leaders week.
Participants at the ministerial meetings would also discuss ways to enhance emergency preparedness in the region.
After the APEC meetings, Key would head to Japan on Sunday for a three-day visit to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries and hold talks with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.
"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," Key said.
Key would visit the tsunami-affected Tohoku region to commemorate the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, and acknowledge the support Japan and New Zealand provided each other in the aftermath of their natural disasters last year, before returning on Sept. 12.
McCully would travel on to Seoul after the APEC event to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and New Zealand.