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NZUS Council sponsors MPs’ visit to Washington

30 July 2012

The New Zealand United States Council has sponsored a successful visit to Washington DC by Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga MP and Hon Shane Jones, Co-Chairs of the New Zealand United States Parliamentary Friendship Group.

“This visit was particularly timely given the stage of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.  The MPs were able to not only raise New Zealand’s profile and aspirations for TPP but also gain valuable insights about US negotiating interests”, said the Council’s Executive Director, Stephen Jacobi.

In a full programme over a four day visit the MPs met with members of the Friends of New Zealand Congressional Caucus and a range of Congressional representatives and had meetings with senior officials in the State Department, Treasury and United States Trade Representative’s office.  The MPs were also guests of honour at a well-attended lunch hosted by the US NZ Council. Other guests included Congressional staff, senior US company executives and Council members and supporters.

Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga said he was pleased to hear first hand that the US genuinely shares New Zealand’s aspiration for a high quality, 21st century agreement. 

“There is no doubt there are tremendous gains to be had if all negotiating parties hold true to the need to genuinely lower barriers to trade,” said Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, MP for Maungakiekie. 

Hon Shane Jones, Labour List MP, noting this was his third visit to Washington with the Parliamentary Friendship Group, said it was useful to cement relationships with US congressional colleagues.

“I am very optimistic both for the NZ/US relationship and for TPP.  From our discussions in Washington it is clear that there is support on both sides of the political divide for TPP,” said Hon Shane Jones.

The NZ US Council met the costs of the MPs’ domestic travel in the United States and related on-the-ground costs.  Arrangements in Washington were made by the New Zealand Embassy.

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