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Trade Minister McClay upbeat about progress on FTA front with EU

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Trade Minister Todd McClay is upbeat after European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said he wants to ink a free-trade agreement with New Zealand by October 2019 but acknowledged it will be a challenge.

"I was pleased to see Mr Juncker wants to get it done by 2019, which is excellent news for New Zealand but it's going to be a very intense negotiation," Mr McClay told BusinessDesk. "I have had discussions with all EU member states. They have all said they are supportive of the launch of a free-trade agreement with New Zealand, they are supportive of a conclusion, but there are going to be some difficult issues on the way through," he said.

Two-way trade between New Zealand the EU is worth $20 billion a year.

In a state of the union address overnight Wednesday, Mr Juncker said he was........

© The National Business Review