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Federated Farmers Leaders In Canada

6 October 2000 PR114/2000

FEDERATED FARMERS LEADERS IN CANADA FOR CAIRNS GROUP FARM LEADERS MEETING

Federated Farmers President Alistair Polson and Chief Executive Tony St. Clair travel to Banff (Alberta, Canada) to take part in the 4th Cairns Group Farm Leaders Meeting being held in parallel with the Cairns Group Ministerial Meeting.

Federated Farmers represents New Zealand farmers in the Cairns Group Farm Leaders, a group of farmer organisations within the 18-member Cairns Group of nations. The Cairns Group are the world's major agricultural exporters who support freer trade in agricultural products.

The focus of the meeting will be to discuss future action to reform world agricultural trade, and examine the political economy of agricultural protection.

"Recent developments mean that we go to Banff in good heart despite the difficulties at Seattle. The US vote to admit China into the WTO, our own Singapore Trade agreement, and the announcement today that senior officials of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) had recommended that New Zealand and Australia become part of the ASEAN free trade area, AFTA," said Mr Polson.

He said, "The establishment of such a free trade area would raise the countries' combined GDP by $60 billion per annum, and New Zealand's GDP by $7.5 billion over 20 years. I understand that the officials recommended that talks begin with New Zealand and Australia within a year."

ENDS For further information: Alistair Polson 025-370-085 Tony St. Clair 025-837-712

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