Source: NZUS Council
Confirmation that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will meet President Joe Biden next week on Tuesday is a big boost for NZ-US relations and Kiwi exporters, says NZUS Council Executive Director Jordan Small.
White House visits are rare events. This will be only the third such formal invitation a New Zealand Prime Minister has received in the past 20 years, and the 26th in our history.
“Make no mistake, this is a big deal and a continuation of the positive trend in our relationship. History shows that gaining an audience with the US President can open up new opportunities to cooperate internationally and enhance trade,” Jordan Small says.
“As it stands the New Zealand Government and the Biden Administration already have common ground on a range of current issues including foreign investment rules, IP waivers for vaccines and the need for globally aligned action on climate change. The New Zealand experience of gun reform will also be a discussion topic.”
The visit is also an opportunity to continue the push for the US to revisit its broader trade strategy in the region and address some of the current challenges that New Zealand companies experience when looking to enter or expand in the US market.
“While US accession to the CPTPP seems to be off the table for the moment, it is still the best way to achieve mutual economic benefits and we should continue to promote it at every opportunity. The Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) that the US Administration has been advocating for is not of the same standard as a fulsome trade agreement, which remains our ideal outcome,” Jordan Small says.
“But it’s worth noting we have built up a diverse and exciting trade relationship without an FTA. Kiwi exporters are increasingly delivering high value exports to the US, as shown in the latest stocktake on our trade relationship. Prior to Covid hitting, our services exports were worth over $1 billion more than agricultural products sold to the US – a major shift in our traditional export profile.
“So while we are doing well, the Prime Minister’s visit can bring issues such as work visa conditions for New Zealand businesses into sharper focus and help make it easier for them to operate in the US.
“The profile of her visit has also generated some much-needed interest in our tourism and education offerings that have been decimated by Covid.
“We know that in-person engagement is really important in the US, so the Prime Minister’s visit is a massive opportunity for New Zealand organisations and exporters to leverage off and we’re excited to see what opportunities will flow from it.”