Engagement with business 13 Feb 2019 Greater integration with the world economy will reap dividends for New Zealand business, the Prime Minister told business leaders today.Addressing the BusinessNZ economic update meeting in Auckland this morning, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the EU and UK were signalling potentially speedy conclusions to free tradeagreements with New Zealand, possibly by the end of 2019 for the EU.The Prime Minister also pledged ongoing effort to fix skills shortages which are affecting many businesses.BusinessNZ Kirk Hope said trade and skills were top concerns for many firms, and the Government’s focus on those issues was welcome."Externally, we are a trade-dependent country and the terms of trade agreements with significant markets are critical for growth. Hearing of the Prime Minister’s success in possibly speeding up two key trade agreements is very positive for business."Internally, we are experiencing labour market shortages across a range of skilled and unskilled positions, and those shortages are a real barrier to business growth.“Business looks forward to remedies in terms of better training systems and immigration where needed."Kirk Hope said the Government’s willingness to engage with business on key issues was appreciated.