8 July 2012 - New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully visited the Philippines from July 17 to 18.
The New Zealand Foreign Minister had a productive meeting with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario wherein the two officials exchanged views on the expansion of the level of bilateral cooperation as well as significant regional developments particularly in the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).
The two Foreign Ministers also discussed the importance of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) which boosted trade by 29% to US$569.09 million in 2011.
The AANZFTA is a comprehensive trade agreement that creates new economic opportunities for the 600 million peoples of ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand by providing a platform for a more liberal, facilitative and transparent market access and investment climate in the said countries.
The two officials also discussed issues that are of mutual interest such as labor cooperation, defense cooperation and development cooperation in the dairy industry, renewable energy sources and disaster preparedness and mitigation.
Secretary del Rosario and Minister McCully said they look forward to the signing of the Philippines-New Zealand Working Holiday Scheme, an arrangement that will provide New Zealanders the opportunity to work and study while holidaying in the Philippines and vice versa.
Minister McCully called on President Benigno S. Aquino III and discussed the latter’s scheduled visit to New Zealand in October 2012 and the Philippines’ and New Zealand’s political, economic and people to people cooperation. President Aquino highlighted the presence of around 36,000 Filipinos in various professional fields who contribute to the development of both countries.
Secretary del Rosario said the visit of Minister McCully “heralds a new chapter in the 46 years of bilateral relations between the Philippines and New Zealand.” The last time that a New Zealand Foreign Minister visited the Philippines was eight years ago.