INDEPENDENT NEWS

PM to visit Europe & attend APEC Leaders’ meeting

Published: Tue 7 Nov 2006 11:57 AM
Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister of New Zealand
7 November 2006 Media Statement
PM to visit Europe & attend APEC Leaders’ meeting
Prime Minister Helen Clark will meet British Prime Minister Tony Blair, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Jacques Chirac, and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi during her visit to Europe, which has been timed around the dedication of the newly-built New Zealand Memorial in London.
Helen Clark departs tomorrow to attend the Memorial dedication at London’s Hyde Park on 11 November, and will return on 20 November. As well as visiting London, Berlin, Paris, and Rome, she will also attend the APEC Leaders’ Meeting in Hanoi on 18 and 19 November.
“This is a highly significant visit to Europe. I will be meeting the leaders of Europe’s four largest countries in economic terms. We have significant trading relationships with Britain, Germany, France, and Italy, alongside extensive people-to-people links. They are also countries in which we share common views and perspectives on major international issues, such as the environment.
“The meetings will provide me with the opportunity to press New Zealand’s view of the need for real progress on Doha Round negotiations at the World Trade Organisation. Climate change is another issue of considerable interest to the European nations and New Zealand. With UN-led climate change talks underway in Nairobi, we will discuss the international efforts to counter climate change.
“The London visit will involve my third meeting this year with Prime Minister Tony Blair. During his visit to New Zealand in March, we discussed improving both countries’ policy-making through the exchange of information and ideas between officials and agencies, which is ongoing. Tony Blair has also provided leadership on climate change issues, and I will be interested in how his government intends to respond to the recent Stern report.
"During the visit to Berlin, I will meet Chancellor Angela Merkel for the first time. Germany is a significant regional and global player and an important science and technology partner for New Zealand. It is our largest source of both imports and students from within the EU. Germany is also our second largest source of tourists – after Britain. Our talks will cover New Zealand and Germany’s shared interests in areas like trade and science.
“The relationship between New Zealand and France is in good shape. I will visit the Musée du quai Branly in Paris, to which New Zealand has gifted contemporary photographic works. Talks with President Chirac will include discussions about the South Pacific and outcomes from the recent Pacific Island Forum.
“In Rome, I will see Prime Minister Romano Prodi, whom I met when he was President of the European Union and during his previous term as Italy’s Prime Minister. Italy is another country taking a growing interest in the South Pacific – which New Zealand welcomes – and I will brief him on current issues there.”
Helen Clark will depart from Rome on 16 November to attend the APEC Leaders’ Meeting in Hanoi.
“This year’s APEC Meeting in Viet Nam will have important issues to discuss. Uppermost in the minds of most leaders will be North Korea’s nuclear test. APEC will provide a valuable opportunity for Leaders to exchange views on this very concerning development.
“Leaders will also want to discuss how APEC economies should respond to the suspension of the WTO Doha Round negotiations. APEC, which represents over 60 per cent of world GDP and just under half of world trade, will want to discuss ways to kick start these talks.
“In the last couple of years, the regional geopolitical environment has become more fluid with new institutions emerging, and an intensification of bilateral FTA activity as well as early steps being taken towards a possible regional FTA.
“It will be important, against this background, to discuss what the emerging regional architecture means for APEC, and how APEC should respond in order to ensure that it continues to make a strong contribution to regional integration efforts,” Helen Clark said.
ENDS

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