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Greens Now Pro Trade ?

28 June 2002

The Green Party appears to be signalling that it is prepared to compromise on its longstanding opposition to trade liberalisation.

“If that’s true, it’s about time” said Trade Liberalisation Network Chairman Brian Lynch today. Mr Lynch was reacting to remarks by Green Party Co-leaders in the 27 June edition of the NZ Herald. “The Green Party’s trade policy has always been unrealistic for a nation so vitally dependent on trade like New Zealand. If they now see the value of trade, and the importance of effective trade rules, that’s at least a start”.

Mr Lynch said he remained concerned at Green statements on the World Trade Organisation. “The WTO underpins New Zealand’s entire trade effort. The Uruguay Round negotiations enhanced New Zealand’s access for diary and meat products in key markets, reduced barriers in manufacturing and services and put in place a new dispute settlement framework that New Zealand has used to its advantage. The Doha round will hopefully extend this work if all participants can be brought to the table. Leaving the WTO or weakening its provisions by introducing mandatory labour and environmental standards will do far more harm than good to New Zealand”.

Mr Lynch also queried the Green Party’s proposal to re-examine CER with Australia. “Australia is our largest market. Without CER and associated instruments like the Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement our exporters would lose their competitive edge over other suppliers. How this would help New Zealand’s trade balance, which seems to be a key Green concern, is beyond me.”

Mr Lynch said the Green Party’s ideological opposition to trade had to be tempered with what New Zealand exporters needed to compete in difficult overseas markets. “The world is not a fair place and will not be made any fairer by shooting ourselves in the foot” concluded Mr Lynch.

For further information

Brian Lynch, TLN Chairman, cell 025 452 958
Stephen Jacobi, TLN Executive Director, cell 021 490 974

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