New Zealand’s prime minister says the United States is slighting her country and its neighbor, Australia, in trade talks. The Washington Post reports Jacinda Ardern also expressed her concerns about China’s growing influence in the region.
Ardern spoke with her counterpart from Australia to talk about greater regional cooperation. She says, “There has been a view recently that the United States hasn’t given our region the same level of attention it’s given to others,” said Ardern. “That’s becoming a concern for both New Zealand and Australia.”
Arden’s comments come as her country pushes for a free-trade deal with the United States. Last week, the New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters was in Washington pushing for a new trade deal. “New Zealand has a real concern about the lack of U.S. trade agreements with the Indo-Pacific region,” according to Peters.
Australia has had a free-trade agreement with the United States that dates back to 2005.