Apr 9, 2024 - Business

Colorado drafts trade deal with New Zealand, eyes other agreements

Illustration of a repeating pattern of handshakes.

Illustration: Victoria Ellis/Axios

The distaste for trade deals in the nation's capital is leading Colorado to forge its own path on an agreement with New Zealand, a move leaders on both sides say will boost economic investment.

State of play: Gov. Jared Polis and New Zealand minister Judith Collins disclosed the ongoing negotiations Tuesday at an event touting the expanding connections and commonalities. More than 30 Kiwi companies have headquarters or offices in Denver.

  • The memorandum of understanding is expected to reduce barriers for investments in the technology, aerospace and artificial intelligence industries.
  • Colorado currently has trade deals with Finland and Taiwan, and it could become the second state behind California to strike a deal with New Zealand.

What they're saying: Polis lamented the failure of the federal Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which he supported while in Congress.

  • "Because of a lack of leadership on national trade policy … we look at how to bring more direct investment from New Zealand into our market and expand markets for grown and made in Colorado products," Polis told Axios Denver in an interview.
  • "You're going to find more people from New Zealand here," Collins added.

The intrigue: A direct flight between Denver and Auckland, New Zealand, is being discussed alongside the agreement, Polis and Collins said, which drew support from Denver International Airport CEO Phil Washington who attended the event at New Zealand-based Xero's headquarters in Denver.

  • "We are going to make Colorado, make Denver, make New Zealand, much closer, much more growing together seamlessly," Collins said at the event.

The big picture: Colorado is moving ahead with similar deals with other nations, including the U.K and the Netherlands.

  • Each is focused on different economic sectors, such as beef exports to Taiwan and quantum computing with Finland.

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