03:01 GMT01 June 2020
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    Australia and New Zealand have launched free trade talks with Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Australia and New Zealand have launched free trade talks with Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia, who make up the Pacific Alliance, their trade ministers announced Saturday.

    "Australia’s experience negotiating with three of the Pacific Alliance members positions us well to conclude an agreement relatively quickly," Australia's Steben Ciobo said in a statement.

    Australia is seeking a "comprehensive, high quality" pact to create new export opportunities for its farmers, miners, manufacturers, educators, service providers and investors, drive economic growth and create jobs, the minister said.

    Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said on Friday that Australia, Canada, Singapore and New Zealand had lined up to join the trading bloc as associate members.

    New Zealand's Trade Minister Todd McClay also announced his country started talks with the alliance, which accounts for 38 percent of Latin America’s population and 57 percent of its total imports.

    "This is a big win in the fight for better access for New Zealanders to important overseas markets. We've worked hard for trade talks with the Pacific Alliance over the last two years and today’s announcement will be welcome news for our exporters," McClay said.

    He stressed a "high-quality" free trade pact will open the door for New Zealand's companies to do more business with the Pacific Alliance countries and increase the $1.1 billion of two-way trade they currently have.


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