Tag Archives: New Zealand

Ardern promises gun law reform

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that her cabinet had made in conceptual decisions around the reform of gun laws following the mass shooting in Christchurch mosques.

“I intend to give further details of these decisions to the media and the public before cabinet meets again next Monday,” she said at a press conference.

“This ultimately means that within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer.”

Prime Minister said an inquiry will trace the lead up to attack and what might have been done differently. (Image above: Jacinda Ardern wore the Hijab (headscarf) while lamenting the Muslim victims of terrorist attack and expressing condolences to their families.)

#Christchurch: EU expresses solidarity

The European Union expresses its sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the two terrorist attacks that took place in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier today. We stand in full solidarity with the people and authorities of New Zealand at this extremely difficult time and stand ready to support in any way, including by strengthening our cooperation on counter-terrorism.

“Attacks on places of worship are attacks on all of us who value diversity and freedom of religion and expression, which are the fabric of New Zealand’s society and shared by the European Union. Such acts strengthen our resolve to tackle, together with the whole international community, the global challenges of terrorism, extremism and hatred.”

EU aims at free trade with Australia and New Zealand

The Council authorised the Commission to open trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand and adopted negotiating directives for each of the negotiations.

Trade agreements with both countries would aim primarily at further reducing existing barriers to trade, removing custom duties on goods, and giving better access for services and public procurement in Australia and New Zealand. The sectors likely to benefit the most from the FTAs are motor equipment, machinery, chemicals, processed foods and services.

The mandates are particularly concerned to protect vulnerable sectors such as agriculture by maximising the benefits of market opening without harming local producers. The mandates do not envisage full liberalisation of trade in agricultural products, which are foreseen as benefiting from specific treatment.

The mandates provide for a comprehensive and modern framework, based on the highest standards of labour, safety, environment, climate and consumer protection.

The Commission presented the draft mandates in September 2017, following successful preparatory discussions which served to define the scope of the future agreements.

The EU already cooperates closely with Australia and New Zealand on economic and trade policy issues in the framework of partnership agreements which were concluded respectively in 2008 and 2017. The EU also has bilateral agreements with both countries on mutual recognition of some technical certificates which, by reducing the costs of testing and certifying of exports and imports, facilitate trade in industrial products. Although generally limited, trade barriers for some sectors, such as agriculture or textile products, remain quite substantial.

Key facts on trade with Australia: The EU is Australia’s third largest trading partner. Annual bilateral trade amounted to more than €47.7 billion in 2017, with a positive trade balance of more than €21 billion on the EU side. EU’s exports to Australia are predominantly manufactured goods while Australia’s exports to the EU are dominated by mineral commodities and agricultural products. EU companies supply commercial services worth nearly €20 billion to Australia and hold investments in the country worth more than €160 billion (in 2016).

Key facts on trade with New Zealand: With annual bilateral trade amounting to more than €8.7 billion in 2017, the EU is New Zealand’s second largest trading partner after Australia. New Zealand’s exports to the EU are largely dominated by agricultural products while EU’s exports to New Zealand are focused on manufactured and industrial goods. For the EU, trade with New Zealand results in a positive trade balance of €1.9 billion (in 2017), and EU companies hold more than €10 billion in foreign direct investment in New Zealand.

Philadelphia: PM May on EU

may-in-phila

“…Nations, accountable to their populations – “deriving” as the Declaration of Independence puts it “their just powers from the consent of the governed” – can choose to join international organisations, or not. They can choose to cooperate with others, or not. Choose to trade with others, or not.

Which is why if the countries of the European Union wish to integrate further, my view is that they should be free to do so. Because that is what they choose.

But Britain – as a sovereign nation with the same values but a different political and cultural history – has chosen to take a different path.

Because our history and culture is profoundly internationalist.

We are a European country – and proud of our shared European heritage – but we are also a country that has always looked beyond Europe to the wider world. We have ties of family, kinship and history to countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and countries across Africa, the Pacific and Caribbean.

And of course, we have ties of kinship, language and culture to these United States too…”

UK PM Theresa May’s speech to Republicans, Philadelphia, 26 January 2017