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Howard On Joint Communique

Howard On Joint Communique Between Australia And New Zealand

I join the New Zealand Prime Minister, Mrs Shipley, in announcing today agreement on a number of important outstanding bilateral issues. This follows on the work done by the joint prime ministerial task force which Mrs Shipley and I established when we met in New Zealand in February this year.

In our communique we agree to: . a full review of social security arrangements between our two countries to be completed and implementation begun before February 2001;

. interim social security arrangements, which will be much simpler and result in greater reimbursement to Australia;

. changes in foreign investment requirements to facilitate investment between Australia and New Zealand. These changes include on AustraliaÆs side lifting the existing foreign investment business acquisition threshold from $A5million to $A50 million on a multilateral basis, and removing approval requirements for special category visa holders investing in residential real estate through Australian based companies and trusts. New Zealand will raise the threshold at which consent for foreign investment is required other than for land from NZ$10 million to NZ$50 million on a multilateral basis.

Full details are in the attached joint communique. The communique also sets out agreement on a range of other issues, including business law, customs and ocean management.

The Closer Economic Relations Agreement (CER) between Australia and New Zealand is an outstanding example of the great benefits that free and open trade can bring through increased competitiveness, trade and economic growth.

Both countries will continue to campaign actively for a new comprehensive global trade round under the auspices of the WTO. MrsShipley and I see the forthcoming APEC meeting as a vital staging post to achieving a new global round.

Both our governments will be open to further steps to maximise the benefits for both countries from CER and to explore closer links with other economies willing to commit to the free-trade principles of CER.

4 August 1999

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