The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
FACT SHEET: The United States and New Zealand: Forward Progress
President Obama and Prime Minister Key today reaffirmed the longstanding friendship and common values shared by the United States and New Zealand and joint efforts to advance our sustained collaboration on multiple fronts. In that spirit, the United States applauds New Zealand’s recent decision to open a consulate in Hawaii to expand and deepen the bilateral relationship.
Increasing Economic Growth, Jobs, and Trade
The United States and New Zealand are committed to creating new opportunities by increasing trade and opening markets, and we are working together to strengthen our economic relationship bilaterally as well as regionally. The President and the Prime Minister share a commitment to completing a high-standard, comprehensive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that achieves the objectives to which TPP Leaders and Ministers agreed in Honolulu in 2011 as soon as possible. This agreement, will contribute to economic growth and job creation in both of our countries and in the Asia-Pacific region and will build on our work together in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
Security, Defense, and Rule of Law
The United States and New Zealand share the goal of a stable and secure world, buttressed by the principles of peaceful resolution of disputes and respect for universal rights and freedoms. Our two countries work side-by-side to support peace and stability both in the Asia-Pacific region and globally.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the United States and New Zealand recognize the importance of regional institutions that promote rules and norms and foster cooperative efforts to address shared challenges. As such, both countries are working with fora such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Regional Forum, the East Asia Summit, and the Pacific Islands Forum to strengthen these rules and norms.
Regarding regional maritime disputes, the United States and New Zealand are united in supporting the peaceful resolution of disputes, the respect for international law and unimpeded lawful commerce, and the preservation of the freedom of navigation and overflight. In the South China Sea, the President and the Prime Minister called on ASEAN and China to reach early agreement on a meaningful and effective Code of Conduct. In discussing the need for diplomatic and dialogue to resolve disputes, the two leaders rejected the use of intimidation, coercion, and aggression to advance any maritime claims. The two leaders reinforced the call for claimants to clarify and pursue claims in accordance with international law, including the Law of the Sea Convention.
The United States and New Zealand are also collaborating to support free and fair elections in Fiji, which will enable that nation to return to democracy and the rule of law.
The United States and New Zealand share in joint efforts to build and sustain a peaceful, secure, and prosperous Asia-Pacific region. The United States welcomes New Zealand’s participation in RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific Exercise), the world’s largest multinational naval exercise. This will mark the first time a New Zealand navy ship will dock at Pearl Harbor Naval Base in over 30 years, a symbol of our renewed engagement on mutual defense and security, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.
Beyond the Asia-Pacific region, the President and the Prime Minister share a deep commitment to advancing global nuclear security, and our countries both contribute to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Nuclear Security Fund. We are both members of the “Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction” and are working together to support mobile detection capabilities in Africa and Latin America. We have also been active participants in the Nuclear Security Summit process, including the recent successful Summit hosted by the Netherlands in The Hague in March.
The United States welcomes New Zealand’s partnership with NATO. As one of the Alliance’s global partners, New Zealand has contributed to NATO operations in Afghanistan and Bosnia, as well as counter-piracy efforts. We look forward to continuing our political dialogue and security cooperation with New Zealand in the NATO context.
The United States and New Zealand are committed to increasing our partnership in support of multilateral peace operations, including both United Nations peacekeeping as well as non-U.N. missions, such as the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai, which remain important tools for advancing global security. New Zealand is providing military instructors to the U.S.-led Global Peace Operations Initiative, which trains peacekeepers prior to deployment, and both countries remain committed to making investments in the countries that contribute forces to U.N. and other peacekeeping operations.
The United States welcomes New Zealand’s strong positions on other international issues, such as Russia’s occupation and annexation of Crimea, the conflict and ensuing humanitarian tragedy in Syria, and the continuing provocative actions of North Korea. The United States welcomes New Zealand’s contribution to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to help people displaced by the current fighting in Iraq. We are also working together in high-value, high-impact areas, such as developing amphibious as well as humanitarian and disaster relief capabilities.
Science, Climate Change, and the Environment
The United States is New Zealand’s most significant research, science and technology partner, sharing a long history of scientific cooperation, especially in Antarctica. The U.S. Antarctic Program, operated out of Christchurch for over five decades, supports diverse scientific work ranging from astrophysics to biology, climatology, and volcanology. Our two countries support efforts by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources to establish the world’s largest Marine Protected Area in the Antarctic Ross Sea.
The United States and New Zealand continue to cooperate on science, technology, and health issues through the Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation, which will next be held in New Zealand in August 2014.
The United States and New Zealand share a recognition of the threat of climate change and are taking a number of steps in the Pacific region and globally to address its effects.
· As we take action at home to reduce carbon emissions, we are cooperating closely in pursuit of an ambitious 2015 climate change agreement applicable to all Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Our two countries intend to put forward our intended post-2020 mitigation contributions well in advance of the Paris climate conference.
· As founding members of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, we work together to promote climate resilient sustainable development and renewable energy in the Pacific region. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research are working to build climate adaptation and resilience through new and improved climate services for Pacific island nations.
· We lead efforts under the APEC “Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform.” New Zealand will undertake a fossil fuel subsidy peer review in support of this effort.
The United States and New Zealand celebrate our strong cultural and people-to-people ties.
The President and the Prime Minister welcomed the creation of a $1.7 million New Zealand Harkness Fellowships Endowment Fund to support outstanding mid-career New Zealand leaders from the public, private, or NGO sector to undertake research and study in the United States. Over the years New Zealand Harkness Fellows have made a significant commitment to New Zealand and to New Zealand’s relationship with the United States, and this Endowment Fund will ensure that legacy continues.
Since 1948, when the Fulbright commission was established in New Zealand, more than 3,000 U.S. citizens and New Zealanders have participated in educational and cultural exchanges. Each year, Fulbright offers approximately 80 scholarships to New Zealand and U.S. citizens to study, research, teach, or present their work in one another’s countries on issues ranging from climate change and energy, to public policy, business, law, and the arts. New Zealand also hosts 15 National Science Foundation fellows each year.
The United States and New Zealand recently committed to jointly fund the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program to send twenty or more teachers to each other’s countries over the next three years. There are more than 3,000 U.S. citizens studying in New Zealand and 1,200 New Zealand students studying in the United States, a nine percent increase over the previous year.
The indigenous peoples of the United States and New Zealand share deep historical ties, and the United States has sponsored Maori business leaders in the United States in an effort to connect Maori with Native American and Alaskan leaders.