Russian trade talks suspended indefinitely

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced – late on Friday – that the Government has suspended trade talks with Russia, and had she didn’t know when or if they would be started again. Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters has agreed with the suspension.

Stuff – PM: ‘The situation has changed’ – trade talks with Russia put on ice

The Government has suspended efforts to restart negotiations for a free trade deal with Russia.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says “the situation has changed” and both her and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters were agreed that any trade talks that had restarted would now be suspended again.

Ardern said she didn’t know when, or if, the Government would be in a position to restart those talks.

The commitment towards an FTA with the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan customs union is included in NZ First’s coalition agreement with Labour.

The change of direction comes after months of Peters being clear on his plans to work towards a FTA with Russia.

Just yesterday via RNZ – Russia talks won’t hinder EU trade deal – Peters

Foreign Minister Winston Peters says he has had no indication that New Zealand’s pursuit of a free trade deal with Russia would hinder ongoing negotiations with the European Union.

Mr Peters said there was no indication from the European Union a deal with Russia would compromise the talks with the EU, which have been ongoing since 2015.

“And I would not expect them to make a comment like that, I know that we’ll taking up conversations with them in a matter of weeks.”

There was a conversation of “some length” with the the Russian foreign ministry about a trade deal at the East Asia Summit in the Philippines last November, Mr Peters said.

It was too early to say how the attempted poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, could affect the relationship between New Zealand and Russia, and any trade talks, he said.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said today there was “no alternative conclusion” than to believe Russia was “culpable” for the attempted murders.

The incident had “somewhat complicated” the issue of a trade deal, Mr Peters said.

“However, other past events saw the conversations continue so I don’t at this point in time see it as our number one priority.”

Complicated enough that a day later Ardern has ruled out any continuation of conversations with Russia on trade.


Leave a comment


  1. That question may have already been answered.

  2. David

     /  16th March 2018

    There will be blow back from Winston, he looks like an ineffectual fool chasing something that looked incredibly dodgy and was never going to happen, the person who dragged him back and made him look irrelevant will get some payback.

    • Gezza

       /  16th March 2018

      Incorrect I’m afraid. Winston knows which side of his bread is buttered. And his principles & bottom lines are almost infinitely flexible. He’s not one to bother about saying one thing one day and the opposite thing the next day. Or even the next campaign address. If you look hard enuf you’ll probably find that whatever he’s said, he’s also said something else that nobody noticed at the time that covers his arse. Often it’ll be buried in something so densely sophistrical people just ignored it.

  3. Reply
    • David

       /  16th March 2018

      Finally. God she is useless and thankfully so, imagine if she was Effecient and this awful the whole country would have collapsed by now

  4. Reply

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