Comprehensive talks focusing on bilateral ties with special reference to the GCC-New Zealand free trade agreement and regional conflicts such as in Yemen took place during a meeting between Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on Tuesday.
Key is the first New Zealand premier to visit the Kingdom and hold talks with senior Saudi officials including Crown Prince Muqrin, deputy premier.
Before his arrival in Riyadh, Key confirmed that security issues would be discussed. “We obviously want to talk about trade and economic activities, but secondly we also want to talk about the region and the very complicated political issues here,” he said.
“Right through from Islamic State to what is happening in Iraq and Syria, the issue of refugees and of course what is taking place in Yemen.”
Key noted: “The top priority for me will be talking to key figures in the region about the importance of progressing New Zealand’s Free Trade Agreement with the GCC.”
The GCC is New Zealand’s fifth largest export destination with exports worth $1.9 billion last year. New Zealand’s exports of goods have grown by 10 percent per year on average over the last decade.
Key is accompanied by a delegation of executives drawn from 18 New Zealand companies.

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