Maori companies and exporters will see the benefits of the upgraded Closer Economic Partnership (CEP) New Zealand’s largest trading partner in South East Asia, with Singapore.

From today, Maori companies will be able to visit Singapore visa-free for three months – up one month from the previous agreement. Maori companies with offices in Singapore will also be able to send employees to work in the city-state for up to eight years.

Te Taumata chairman, Chris Karamea Insley, says geographically Singapore is strategically well-positioned as a central trading hub with neighbouring major trading countries for produce from Maori businesses and exporters.

“This upgraded CEP is an important enabler to growing trade with the wider South East Asia region. It includes new arrangements which will simplify cross-border requirements for primary products from our farms, forestry, seafood, and new value-add products up the value-chain.”

Mr Insley says Te Taumata is working closely with the New Zealand government towards a trade agenda that ensures the benefits of trade are shared by all whanau and Maori businesses and contributes to the international systems which have served well over the past 25 years. He says this includes promoting a new Digital Economic Partnership Agreement with Singapore and Chile over the next 12 months.

“At a time when the rules-based system is facing challenges, our partnership with Singapore and upgraded free trade agreement is more important than ever,” says Mr Insley.