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New Zealand leader urges U.S. to return to regional trade pact -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister speaks during the unveiled ceremony for a Kuwaha statue at Gardens by the Bay’s Cloud Forest in Singapore on April 19, 2022. REUTERS/Caroline Chia

By David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – The New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Archern stated Wednesday that the United States must re-sign a 2017 regional trade pact if it wants to be economically involved with the Indo-Pacific.

Ardern spoke to Washington during a trip. He said the multinational agreement now called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnerships (CPTPP) was the “golden standard”. However, New Zealand will continue to press for more access to the U.S. markets even without this multilateral agreement.

According to her, “If the United States wishes to engage with our region economically, then that would be the place to make it happen.” She spoke of the CPTPP. This is a program which the Biden administration was reluctant to accept due to concern about its impact on U.S. job opportunities.

Ardern said that the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity was an “opening point” for discussions on climate and digital issues.

Ardern spoke out after meeting with members of Congress. She said that she wanted to highlight the importance of expanding trade opportunities and partnerships within the Indo-Pacific.

According to her, IPEF might offer the opportunity for non-traditional trade blocks like those that have led to shortages in baby formula in America.

So that’s an opportunity for us. This is what we’ll do, and will continue advocating for market accessibility.”

Biden created IPEF to counter China’s growing influence. However, it does not offer the trade relief and expanded access that the region needs.

Ardern stated that New Zealand participated in IPEF with good will.

She said, “It’s more beneficial to be at table shaping those conversations than not. However, we will continue pushing for market acces at every step.”

Ardern, who is visiting the United States in an effort to promote exports as well as attract tourists to America, will visit New Zealand to open its borders to all after two years of COVID-19 sanctions.

The White House and Ardern have not yet made plans to meet Biden, as she is still recovering from COVID-19. The United States of America and New Zealand have been close friends for many years, however such a meeting is not possible due to strict White House Pandemic Protocols.

Ardern reported that she met U.N. SecretaryGeneral Antonio Guterres Tuesday in New York, and that she will be delivering the Harvard University commencement address on Thursday.