Aotearoa New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Mexico are driving a more inclusive and sustainable trade agenda through the Inclusive Trade Action Group (ITAG).
On July 2023, in the margins of the 7th Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Commission Meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Mexico came together to issue the Tāmaki Makaurau Joint Declaration for Inclusive and Sustainable Trade [PDF, 220 KB].
Building on the 2018 Joint Declaration on Fostering Progressive and Inclusive Trade, committed to work together to ensure global trade is inclusive and sustainable, and keeps pace with emerging issues and current challenges. This includes in areas such as Indigenous economic empowerment, small and medium-sized businesses, women in trade, domestic regional development, as well as the environment and climate change.
ITAG has its origins in the Joint Declaration on Fostering Progressive and Inclusive Trade [PDF, 112 KB]. This was issued by Aotearoa New Zealand, Canada and Chile alongside the signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in March 2018.
ITAG members work together to help make trade policies more inclusive, and ensure that the benefits of trade and investment are more broadly shared. For Aotearoa New Zealand, this work is an extension of the Trade for All Agenda.
Since November 2018 the three countries have focused on indigenous trade, women’s economic empowerment, agriculture and the sustainable development goals, and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) development.
In October 2021 Mexico was welcomed as the first new participant of ITAG.
In May 2022, at the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting in Bangkok, New Zealand, Canada, Chile and Mexico came together as ITAG to advance inclusive and sustainable trade issues, and released this Joint Ministerial Statement.
On 13 June 2022, at the Twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) in Geneva, Aotearoa New Zealand, Canada, Chile and Mexico came together at Ministerial level to highlight inclusive trade issues, and released this Joint Communique. At that meeting Colombia and Peru were also welcomed as the newest members of the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement (GTAGA).
In May 2023 Costa Rica and Ecuador became the latest ITAG and GTAGA members in a virtual Ministerial signing ceremony that was chaired by Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Damien O’Connor.
In June 2023, New Zealand released a three-year review of CPTPP as committed to under the ITAG Joint Declaration on Fostering Progressive and Inclusive Trade. The review assesses the early impacts of CPTPP for Aotearoa New Zealand with respect to a range of inclusive and sustainability aspects, including gender, Māori, SMEs, and the environment.
Global Trade and Gender Arrangement
Aotearoa New Zealand, Canada and Chile launched the GTAGA in a virtual Ministerial signing ceremony in August 2020. It was the first ITAG Arrangement concluded, and New Zealand’s first trade arrangement specifically on gender. Read more:
- press release from the Minister for Trade and Export Growth. This includes a Joint Communique by New Zealand, Canada and Chile to mark the signing of the Arrangement
- a renewed ITAG Work Programme [PDF, 115 KB]
- the text of the finalised Arrangement [PDF, 307 KB]
- agreed GTAGA work plan [PDF, 222 KB] over 2022-24
We know that trade has a positive impact on economic development and that exporting firms, including women-owned companies that export, can achieve greater levels of profitability, competitiveness, productivity, innovation and resilience. They also pay higher wages and hire more diverse employees.
But we also know women-owned businesses and workers are less likely to be involved in trade sectors and generally face lower wages.
The GTAGA commits each Participant to advance a more inclusive approach to trade, and address barriers that women face when participating in trade.
Over time, GTAGA will be a force for positive change in our economies and societies by:
- increasing the development of more robust opportunities for women in international trade, and
- contributing to the promotion of gender considerations on the international stage.
Aotearoa New Zealand, Canada, Chile and Mexico have reaffirmed their commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 5 on ending all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere and leaving no-one behind.
The GTAGA recommits to the goal of gender equality in the workplace. It commits Participants to cooperate and share best practices to eliminate discrimination in employment and occupation, including on the basis of sex, pregnancy, possibility of pregnancy, maternity, gender and gender identity, and sexual orientation.
For women-owned businesses, the GTAGA includes cooperation activities to promote the internationalization of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) led by women and the fuller integration of women into the formal economy.
It also contains specific cooperative activities aimed at enhancing economic opportunities for Māori and rural women.
Is the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement a Free Trade Agreement ?
The GTAGA is similar to a Trade and Gender chapter or article in an FTA as it is designed to assist in removing barriers that women face when participating in trade, and proposes cooperation activities.
The GTAGA is not enforceable or subject to binding dispute resolution. It contains a review mechanism, which will see the Participants look afresh at the GTAGA, including legal form, in 2023.
Who can join the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement?
Given that the GTAGA is standalone, it is not linked to any specific trade agreement and is open to interested economies to join.
An economy does not need to be part of ITAG to join GTAGA but ITAG partners welcome participation in both.
In October 2021 Mexico became the first new participant of the GTAGA at a Ministerial meeting in Paris hosted by the OECD. Colombia and Peru also joined in June 2022 at the Twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva. In May 2023 Costa Rica and Ecuador joined ITAG and GTAGA in a virtual Ministerial signing ceremony hosted by New Zealand. Argentina became the newest GTAGA member in a virtual Vice-Ministers signing ceremony that took place in October 2023 chaired by New Zealand.
Global Trade and Gender Arrangement activities
2022 – Women in STEM: Fixing the ‘Leaky Pipeline’
On 9 November (NZT), New Zealand hosted the third GTAGA implementation event on Women in STEM: ‘fixing the leaky pipeline’.
The virtual event brought together trailblazing women from New Zealand, Canada, Chile and Mexico to share advice and to exchange views on how to encourage and support more women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers, and how to best ensure retention to fix the ‘leaky pipeline’ or the underrepresentation of women in STEM field.
The event was organised in two segments: ‘Women in Innovation’ and ‘Technology 4.0’. ‘Women in Innovation’ showcased Catherine Clennett from New Zealand and Dr Poh Tan from Canada, as women who are at the forefront of bringing innovation through science and research including in environment and biomedical sectors. ‘Industry 4.0’, featured Barbarita Lara from Chile and Graciela Rojas Montemayor from Mexico, as women in the technology sector highlighting the importance of people-to-people connection and education.
Welcoming remarks made by New Zealand as host country were followed by remarks from officials from Mexico, Colombia and Peru, as newer members of GTAGA. The event MC was Anna Guenther, Women in Export Lead from NZTE.
The event attracted around 120 participants from 20 countries from a diverse range of groups including government, academic, NGOs and businesses.
2021 – Unlocking Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs In Canada, Chile & New Zealand
In June 2021, Chile hosted the second (virtual) GTAGA implementation meeting on unlocking opportunities for women entrepreneurs in Canada, Chile and Aotearoa New Zealand.
The event provided a platform for women who are exporting, export-ready or considering opportunities in GTAGA markets to learn more about the business activities that exist in the three economies.
The private sector panellists included Laura Mottola, President of Flow Partners Inc, Canada; Carolina Echenique, Founder and President of Tika Chips, Chile; and Sarah Adams, Global Strategy and New Ventures Manager for Gallagher Animal Management, New Zealand.
Senior diplomatic and trade officials from the three GTAGA economies also spoke about opportunities in the three markets.
Officials and private sector representatives were invited from a range of other economies. Around 130 participants attended. A recording of the event for those who missed it can be found below.
2021 – GTAGA: An Innovative Initiative to Support Women’s Economic Empowerment through Trade
In June 2021 the OECD’s Marion Jansen, Director Trade and Agriculture, hosted a virtual GTAGA Ministerial meeting 'An innovative initiative to support women’s economic empowerment through trade'.
GTAGA Ministers including Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Damien O'Connor, were joined by senior female business leaders to talk about challenges and opportunities in promoting women’s involvement in trade.
This included Liz Te Amo, CEO of Miro, New Zealand; Vicky Saunders, founder of SheEO, Canada; Fernanda Vicente, Executive Vice President and Co-Founder of Mujeres del Pacifico.
2021 – Women & Trade: Empowerment Through Inclusiveness Organised by Embassies of Canada, Chile and New Zealand in Germany
Another GTAGA-focused event was hosted in September 2021 which brought together officials, private sector and civil society representatives in an event moderated by German NGO Polis 180.
2020 – Report: First Activity Organised Under the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement
In December 2020, Canada hosted the first (virtual) GTAGA implementation meeting which looked at domestic programmes and policies that support women’s economic empowerment and gender equality. Officials were invited from eight other economies and over 60 participants attended. Chile’s presentation was delivered by the CEO of Start-Up Chile, an initiative that supports women entrepreneurs.
Canada’s presentation was delivered by an economist at Finance Canada on gender-based budgeting, a discourse that seeks budget policies which enhance gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Aotearoa New Zealand’s presentation was delivered by the Ministry for Women's Policy Director Rebecca Barnes and focused on practical initiatives that enable policy makers and the private sector to include a gender perspective in their decision making.
Share your views
Watch out for more ITAG/ GTAGA implementation events in 2023. We welcome your feedback and any ideas for increasing women’s participation in trade. Get in touch by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
News and resources
- Inclusive Action Group issues the Tāmaki Makaurau Joint Declaration for Inclusive and Sustainable Trade.
- Press release, 28 June 2023 – Inclusive Trade Action Group three-year review of the implementation of CPTPP
- Press release, 24 May 2019 – Minister for Trade and Export Growth: NZ’s interests advanced at international trade forums
- Press release, 16 November 2018 – Minister for Trade and Export Growth: Inclusive Trade Action Group meets in Port Moresby. This press release includes reference to a meeting of the Inclusive Trade Action Group, following which a Joint Communique [PDF 314 KB] was issued.
OECD Trade and Gender Review of New Zealand
In a first in advancing the interests of women in trade, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and New Zealand have published a review on trade and gender in New Zealand . You can read it here: Trade and Gender Review of New Zealand | OECD iLibrary (oecd-ilibrary.org)