Riyadh: New Zealand's Minister for Economic Development and Energy and Resources Gerry Brownlee has announced that his country will open an embassy in the UAE within two months.

He added that his country is looking to the UAE and Saudi Arabia as strategic partners and key gateways for New Zealand to the Middle East.

Brownlee commended the UAE's accomplishments in many areas and its advantageous position on the map of the global economy.

The minister told Gulf News at the New Zealand Embassy in Riyadh that the embassy to be opened in Abu Dhabi would also cover Qatar.

New Zealand has a consulate in Dubai.

Free trade

Brownlee said his country's embassy in Riyadh was the oldest in the region and served New Zealand's interests for the entire Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

New Zealand's minister for economic development and energy and resources revealed that his country was negotiating a free trade agreement with the GCC states.

He added that the proposed free trade agreement would boost trade, and economic and investment relations between the two sides. He said New Zealand allowed GCC citizens to enter the country without the need to obtain an entry visa in advance from its embassies or consulates.