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New Zealand’s bilateral relations with Russia have expanded in scope and intensity over recent years. There has been an increase in high-level engagement with Russian counterparts, particularly in the context of the Free Trade Agreement negotiations, and the first ever dedicated bilateral visit by a Russian foreign minister to New Zealand in January 2012, and a reciprocal visit to Moscow by Foreign Minister Murray McCully in November 2013.
During Foreign Minister Lavrov’s visit to New Zealand, Russia and New Zealand signed a Foreign Ministry Consultations Plan to formalise consultations between our two countries. Several rounds of consultations have already taken place under this Plan and the next talks will take place in Wellington in February 2014.
This year sees the anniversary of 70 years of diplomatic relations between Russia and New Zealand. Events and activities marking the occasion will be held in both New Zealand and Russia throughout 2014.
CURBK-NZ FTA (Customs Union of Russia Belarus and Kazakhstan – New Zealand FTA) negotiations have made significant progress since they began in late 2010, including a series of Ministerial and Leads-level meetings in 2013. Russia and the Customs Union continue to see the value in concluding its first FTA with an OECD country such as New Zealand. An FTA with the Customs Union presents a strategic and commercial first mover opportunity for New Zealand. Russia alone is the world’s fifth largest food importer, the largest import market for beef and butter in the world, the second largest for cheese, the fifth largest grocery market, the ninth largest for dairy products generally, and in the top twenty world markets for sheepmeat.
Russia is our 28th largest trading partner with total trade valued at NZ$507 million for the year ended December 2012. The FTA will encourage and facilitate New Zealand businesses to explore opportunities in the Russian market more actively, and develop further business partnerships with Russian companies.
Land Area - 17,075,000 square kilometres (63 x New Zealand)
Population - 143.5 million (2014 est.)
Capital City - Moscow
Language - Russian
Political system - Multiparty republic with a 2 chamber
legislature consisting of the Federation Council (upper house), and State
Duma (lower house), and an Executive
Last election - December 2011 (Parliament); March 2008 (President)
Next election due - December 2015 (Parliament), March 2018 (President)
Head of State - Vladimir Putin, President
Head of Government - Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister
US$ 2.026 trillion
Real GDP growth - 3.5%
Exports - US$501.2 billion
Imports - US$314.7 billion
Main exports - Fuels and energy, metals, machinery and equipment, chemicals
Current account balance - US$97.3 billion
Inflation - 6.5%
New Zealand Embassy Moscow, Russian Federation [external link].
Embassy of the Russian Federation, Wellington
The Safetravel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to the Russian Federation [external link].