German President and NZ Prime Minister discuss trade and science opportunities

By Talisa Kupenga

The President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier was welcomed at Wellington's Government House as part of his three-day visit to New Zealand.

A timely welcome for the new President of Germany, 16 years since the last German Presidential visit to New Zealand.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says "I consider it a particular honour that we've managed to time this with my recent election to the role of Prime Minister. It is a significant occasion for us."

President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier says "I'm delighted at the fact that right at the outset of your term in office as Prime Minister of your country we've been able to meet."

The Prime Minister and the President met to discuss future trade agendas.

Prime Minister Ardern says "of course trade and our trade relationship is important to us with the two-way trade valued at around $3.1billion.

President Steinmeier says "this is why Germany as a country that very much relies on exporting its products and foods has the greatest interest in seeing that free trade agreement with New Zealand not only negotiated but as quickly as possible concluded."

Another topic, Science and Innovation, was a key focus of the President's visit, which coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Science and Technology Cooperation agreement between the two countries.

Prime Minister Ardern says "I can't overstate the importance of that cooperation when you consider that one in seven of our scientists have a German partner."

President Steinmeier says "In the course of those 40 years this agreement has really proven to be a very stable basis for the bilateral relationship and has been complimenting very well the trading relationship between both our countries."

The President leaves New Zealand tomorrow.