Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has met overnight with the President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, to discuss opportunities to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

The prime minister was accompanied by MP Paulo Garcia, the first Filipino to be elected to a legislature outside the Philippines.

In a joint statement, the leaders said they discussed defence, trade, people-to-people, and climate cooperation during the bilateral meeting.

Prime Minister Luxon said a key outcome of the meeting was the agreement that New Zealand and the Philippines will upgrade their relationship to a Comprehensive Partnership by 2026.

Christopher Luxon’s tour of southeast Asia continues.

“We agreed to growing our economies through exports, with two-way trade set to grow by 50% by 2030.

“A key focus of the meeting was defence cooperation, including establishing the legal architecture to allow our defence forces to do more together by the end of this year. 

“Closer defence ties will enable New Zealand and the Philippines to continue to work closely in support of the peace, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific,” he said.

Luxon and President Marcos Jr also discussed the growing Filipino population in New Zealand, initiating further dialogue on climate change challenges, and regional and global issues.