New Zealand Says GCC Trade Pact Awaits Gulf Political Approval

New Zealand’s Trade Minister Tim Groser said a proposed free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council awaits the political approval of the oil-rich, six-nation bloc after details were completed.

“The deal has been negotiated and it’s now just a matter of making sure everyone is politically comfortable with moving ahead,” Groser said in an interview in Dubai yesterday. “It’s in a very good shape.” He didn’t disclose details of the accord.

New Zealand’s exports to the six-member GCC have grown to $1.4 billion in 2013, making the region the seventh-largest destination for goods from the country. The United Arab Emirates is the biggest market for New Zealand’s exports in the region at $656 million, followed by Saudi Arabia.

New Zealand supplies about 15 percent of the U.A.E.’s food imports, according to Groser. With the second-biggest Arab economy importing about 90 percent of its food needs, “you could say we are already producing more than 10 percent of the food needs of this country. That is a significant contribution to food security here,” he said.

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