New Zealand is to host the 13th round of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in Auckland from June 12 to 18, Trade Minister Todd McClay said Friday.
Once completed, RCEP would be the largest trading bloc in the world in terms of population, covering a total population of more than 3 billion people in 16 countries, McClay said in a statement.
"RCEP aims to broaden and deepen existing free trade agreements between ASEAN and six other countries, including New Zealand," said McClay.
"It is important for New Zealand to play its part in these negotiations which offer us significant opportunities to increase our trade and economic links with the dynamic Asia region."
The RCEP countries accounted for around 27 percent of global trade and had a combined gross domestic product of 23 trillion U.S. dollars.
Critically for New Zealand, the 15 other countries covered 55 percent of its goods export markets last year and six of its top 10 trading partners.
"It would not be in New Zealand's interests to stand aside from a negotiation that covers at least 55 percent of our merchandise exports," said McClay.
"New Zealand's participation in RCEP complements New Zealand's existing free trade agreements in Asia, and will help New Zealand build new FTA relationships, notably with India.
It will help to make the region's 'noodle bowl' of rules operate better together, reducing the costs for New Zealand's businesses to operate in the region."
The government intended to provide further details about opportunities for stakeholders to present views and relevant information in connection with the RCEP negotiations.