On 9–10 August 2022, in New Zealand, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, met with the Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Damien O’Connor, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Adrian Rurawhe, and members of the New Zealand – Europe Parliamentary Friendship Group.
In a conversation with the Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Edgars Rinkēvičs informed him about the opening of a Latvian embassy in Canberra. The Foreign Minister underlined its regional role of representing Latvia’s interests in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Island countries. Edgars Rinkēvičs expressed his hope in the future contribution from the embassy to developing both a political dialogue and trade with like-minded partners in Oceania.
The officials welcomed the completion of negotiations for the European Union – New Zealand Free Trade Agreement. In the current geopolitical situation, it is vital to create new opportunities for export and import, which will be ensured by the agreement, the Foreign Minster noted. Edgars Rinkēvičs also expressed support for an air traffic agreement between the two countries, and Latvia’s interest in launching talks on an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion. The Ministers then exchanged views on the commitment to the mitigation of climate change and potential cooperation between the two countries in the information technology and digital sector.
In a meeting with the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and MPs from the New Zealand – Europe Parliamentary Friendship Group, the need for closer cooperation between like-minded countries was underlined, and the current security situation in Europe and the Indo-Pacific region was discussed. Edgars Rinkēvičs thanked New Zealand for providing humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and for close cooperation in international organisations.
Like-minded countries must work even closer together to isolate Russia in international formats and raise awareness of the serious geopolitical economic and humanitarian global-scale consequences of the war unleashed by Russia on Ukraine, the Foreign Minister emphasised.
As part of his visit, Edgars Rinkēvičs met with New Zealand students, who acted out a model of the European Parliament. At Victoria University of Wellington, the Minister delivered a lecture, “Security in Europe: a view from the Latvian Foreign Minister”.