Today, the Government of the Republic of Chile welcomed to Chile the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, the Right Honourable Winston Peters.
President Sebastian Piñera welcomed Minister Peters to La Moneda Palace. They had a wide-ranging discussion, in which they renewed the commitment of both countries to strengthen their long-standing and close relationship. Minister Peters also met with Teodoro Ribera, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Antonio Walker, Minister of Agriculture.
Shared values and people-to-people links across the Pacific Ocean underpin the strong bilateral relationship between Chile and New Zealand. As trade-dependent countries in the Asia-Pacific region with common interests and concerns, Chile is an important and enduring partner for New Zealand in Latin America. Global economic and political uncertainties have drawn the two countries closer together.
During the talks, Chile and New Zealand reaffirmed their commitment to fostering open trade and promoting the international rules-based trading system. Both expressed their commitment to the Inclusive Trade Action Group goals of achieving economic growth while advancing broader social and environmental objectives and ensuring that the benefits of trade are widely shared, including by indigenous peoples and women.
In advance of the Pacific Alliance Summit in Lima, strong desires were expressed for New Zealand to become an Associated State of the Pacific Alliance through the successful completion of a high quality and mutually beneficial free trade agreement.
Both sides reflected on the exponential growth of digital trade. They agreed that the commencement of negotiations in May this year between the two countries and Singapore towards a Digital Economy Partnership Agreement was a good opportunity to help shape new international rules in this area.
Minister Peters welcomed Chile's APEC priorities for 2019, including the focus on APEC's core business of regional economic integration and pro-growth policies in the digital age, and the advancement of initiatives on inclusion and sustainability.
President Piñera and Minister Peters also discussed opportunities to further regional integration such as Chile's role as a gateway for Asia into Latin America and the concept of New Zealand serving as a hub between the two regions. It was agreed that New Zealand and Chilean officials would continue discussions to advance this concept on the margins of APEC in Chile in Noveimbre 2019.
It was noted that all countries need to take urgent climate action with the objective of limiting temperature increase to 1.5 degrees over pre-industrial levels. To that effect, Chile and New Zealand will continue to work together to promote transformative approaches to addressing the lack of alignment between global trade, climate and environmental policy and architecture.
Minister Peters welcomed Chile's framing of COP25 as a 'Blue COP' to encourage meaningful action on oceans and climate. It was acknowledged that as countries bordering the Pacific Ocean, both Chile and New Zealand have a common interest in climate issues given the impact on the oceans.
Views were expressed about the significant impact of the Venezuela crisis on countries in Latin America. Chile and New Zealand denounced the Maduro regime's human rights violations, systematic erosion of Venezuela's democratic institutions and the human misery suffered by Venezuela's people. Gratitude was expressed for New Zealand's humanitarian contributions to assist Venezuelan residents and those who have fled to neighbouring countries. Chile and New Zealand welcome the efforts of the Lima Group on advocating for the return of democracy in Venezuela.
Minister Peters expressed gratitude for the warm welcome extended by President Piñera, his government, and the people of Chile. President Piñera hopes to welcome New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to Chile for the APEC Leaders' Summit in November and renew their engagement following the visit of President Piñera to New Zealand in November 2018.