On 16 June, the Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, Murray McCully, who is in Latvia for a working visit. Edgars Rinkēvičs noted that Latvia continues expanding bilateral relations with New Zealand both at the bilateral level and in the European Union framework, with a special focus on business contacts. Both countries look ahead to the launching of negotiations on a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement between the EU and New Zealand.
Edgars Rinkēvičs emphasised that Latvia stands fully behind the decision to start the process for negotiations on a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement in view of the increasing interest of Latvia’s business community in new export markets.
The agreement is going to be one of the so called ‘new generation’ agreements and include provisions concerning small and medium sized companies, a chapter on sustainability and a reformed system of investment protection rules.
Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs welcomed the conclusion of negotiations on the EU-New Zealand Partnership Agreement on Relations and Cooperation (PARC) which is to be signed in the second half of 2016.
During the meeting, Edgars Rinkēvičs confirmed that Latvia is keen to sign an agreement with New Zealand on the avoidance of double taxation, thereby laying a firm foundation for the further promotion of contacts in business and trade.
Both Ministers concurred that the Agreement on a Working Holiday Scheme signed in 2008 has been working well. Edgars Rinkēvičs expressed hope that this programme will attract more New Zealand students and young people to Latvia.
Both Foreign Ministers also discussed the appointment of Honorary Consuls in Latvia and New Zealand as a means for deepening bilateral cooperation. The Ministers exchanged views on recent development and cooperation on regional and international matters, including New Zealand’s experience of cooperation with countries in the Pacific.
Edgars Rinkēvičs also thanked New Zealand for its support during the process of accession to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
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