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First round of P3 Trade Negotiations go well

The first round of negotiations for the proposed "P3" trade agreement have gone well, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

The first round of negotiations towards the Pacific Three or "P3" closer economic partnership, linking New Zealand, Chile, and Singapore, took place in Singapore last week. The aim is to conclude a high quality, comprehensive trilateral agreement that will contribute positively to economic liberalisation and cooperation within the Asia-Pacific region.

Mr Sutton said it was clear that there is strong commitment among the P3 partners ? New Zealand, Singapore and Chile ? to make the CEP agreement a benchmark for the region.

"The first round of discussions in Singapore covered all areas of interest to New Zealand and provided an excellent start to the negotiations."

Mr Sutton said that he was looking forward to discussing the process with ministerial colleagues from Chile and Singapore at the APEC trade ministers meeting next month.

New Zealand's negotiating team in Singapore included officials from the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry, Economic Development Ministry, Agriculture and Forestry Ministry, the Treasury, the Customs Service, the Labour Department, and the Environment Ministry.

Chile is scheduled to host the second round of talks in November.

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