Inclusive Trade Action Group

Aotearoa New Zealand, Canada, Chile and Mexico are driving a more inclusive and sustainable trade agenda through the Inclusive Trade Action Group (ITAG).

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 again 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 again 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).

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:

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 ?

No. The GTAGA is similar to a Trade and Gender Chapter 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, by 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 any 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.

Aotearoa New Zealand welcomed Mexico’s new partnership on inclusive trade issues with a press release from the Minister for Trade and Export on 7 October 2021 - New Zealand welcomes Mexico as a new partner on inclusive trade initiatives | Beehive.govt.nz

Global Trade and Gender Arrangement activities

·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.

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.

Chile’s presentation was delivered by the CEO of Start-Up Chile, an initiative that supports women entrepreneurs.

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.

Officials were invited from eight other economies and over 60 participants attended.

In June 2021, Chile hosted the second (virtual) GTAGA implementation meeting which looked at 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 140 participants attended. A recording of the event for those who missed it can be found here:

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 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.   

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.

Share your views

Watch out for more ITAG/ GTAGA implementation events in 2022. We welcome your feedback and any ideas for increasing women’s participation in trade. Get in touch by email: tradeforall@mfat.govt.nz

 News and resources

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)

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