German Chancellor Angela Merkel is backing a free trade agreement between New Zealand and the European Union.
New Zealand is one of only a few countries yet to negotiate a free trade deal with the EU.
Two-way trade totalled about $14 billion in the year to September, but has been static in recent times.
Both sides finalised a formal agreement for co-operation in July, and Mrs Merkel said that it was time to pursue closer economic ties.
"I think that we should also come out in favour of a free trade agreement between the EU and New Zealand," she said.
"New Zealand has such agreements with China and with many areas of the world."
Mrs Merkel stopped over in New Zealand yesterday, on her way to the G20 Leaders' Summit in Brisbane.