New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser indicated confidence concerning the signing of a extensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that will reduced trade barriers between Saudi Arabia along with other GCC states.
Groser said, “We’re producing a lot of improvement so far as the New Zealand-GCC totally Free Trade Agreement is involved, ” before he left the Saudi Kingdom on Tuesday, there are just a few legal issues being ironed out and clarified.
Negotiations on the New Zealand–GCC Free Trade Agreement (FTA) successfully concluded on October 31st in 2011 following six rounds of negotiations.
Ambassador Hamish MacMaster, who was with Deputy Chief of Mission Greg Lewis, accompanied Groser during the exclusive interview at a hotel in the Saudi capital.
Groser added that this FTA is inside the structure of a extensive strategy that New Zealand will handle with the Saudi Kingdom and the rest of the GCC countries over the coming five years.
Saudi Arabia is the country’s biggest export market in the GCC, representing 45% of its exports to the six-nation bloc.
If and when the FTA officially takes effect, it will also promote trade, create job opportunities and high-paying jobs as well as improved incomes, he said.
Groser added: “We’re just a small part of the equation but our experience with FTAs is that these could also serve as platforms to develop other forms of cooperation between or among countries.”
For example, he stated, “This area of the world is abundant in oil and gas so we can help by training its manpower to tap and develop its geothermal power when the FTA comes into effect.”
Groser said: “This is some thing we’re proficient at. New Zealand, as an example, has educated the geothermal technicians of scores of countries like Philippines.”
Groser stated that New Zealand sees the same opportunity with other GCC countries as it has with the Asia Pacific region, although “On a smaller scale given the size of the GCC compared to China and East Asia., as far as doing business with the region is concerned”
“Nonetheless, we have seen some possibilities. New Zealand and the Gulf states are supporting on atomic renewable power. We transfer fossil energy from them and we export meals to the GCC,” he stated.
He additionally said: “As you know, the GCC countries import around 80 to 90 percent of their food needs and products from New Zealand makeup arounds 15 percent of that. So we’ re a very significant part of the food security of the region. With regards to agribusiness, Nz is not a small country. It is one of the largest exporter of halal products in the world, even though its not a predominantly Muslim country.”
New Zealand’s annual exports last year stood at USD 38.72 billion while its total imports reached USD 37.88 billion.
Agriculture, farming and tourism are the main contributors to the country’s USD 114.23 billion GDP. However, as the country’s farmland bank has already been exhausted, it is looking at alternative ways to increase exports.
Groser mentioned: “We market halal food to 43 different Islamic countries around the globe. We’re 4th to 5th largest beef exporter. We export a great deal of high-quality gardening products.”
He stated that becoming maker of gardening items, New Zealand requirements normal water, with which the GCC doesn’t have significantly, adding that 70 percent from the world’s fresh water is used in producing meals.
“In the long term, a program of totally free trade is additionally about organic use of sources. Our assets are close to water and application of scientific research to produce meals as the GCC countries must notice a rational limit to using drinking water,” he stated.
Besides the FTA, which New Zealand is completing with Saudi Arabia as well as other GCC states, there are also 85 organizations within the Empire in the agribusiness. If and when they return to Saudi Arabia, “We also have a variety of specialists with different skills in Gulf countries as a whole,” he said, adding that there are also some 5,000 Saudis students in New Zealand, which would be a considerable addition to the Kingdom’s human resources.
He extra that Nz also offers learning aviation, noting that this UAE is developing an aviation college in Dubai, that had chosen his country to provide traffic controllers who would come to be trainers.
“The UAE has also concluded the negotiations and the signing of free trade agreements with Singapore, European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, the Principality of Liechtenstein and New Zealand.”
Groser extra that his region also gives a free of charge visa admittance to all GCC nationals, that is beneficial to mothers and fathers who would like to visit their children in New Zealand.
“The ones that I actually have pointed out are only a few types of things which perform quite well. ” Groser said, we’re limited to a few specific areas because of our small size but I think the GCC countries appreciate us for our being independent-minded partners.