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Support For US Trade Deal Welcomed

16 July 2002

Support For US Trade Deal Welcomed

US Trade Representative Bob Zoellick has endorsed the concept of a US-Australia free trade agreement bringing the prospect of a negotiation a step closer.

“Ambassador Zoellick’s speech to the Australian-American Leadership Dialogue last week shows that Australia continues to make progress in Washington to open the door to a free trade deal. New Zealand should continue to make every effort to do the same”, New Zealand-US Council Chairman and Fonterra CEO Craig Norgate said today.

“New Zealand’s hopes for a free trade agreement cannot be realised without strong New Zealand government, business and public support. A recent poll by the Trade Liberalisation Network showed that 94 percent of respondents support a similar FTA with New Zealand. We need to work hard to convince the US Administration and Congress that New Zealand should be allowed to go through the door as well” said Mr Norgate.

Mr Norgate encouraged New Zealand business to follow through on the expression of support in the TLN poll by joining the New Zealand-US Council.

“There is no way that New Zealand can allow itself to be excluded from any US/Australia free trade area. While negotiations may be separate, they should ideally run in parallel. At this point it is vital that New Zealand business gets in behind the New Zealand/US Council so that business can work effectively alongside the Government to mobilise the considerable support that already exists for New Zealand in Washington”, concluded Mr Norgate.

Results of the TLN poll and Ambassador Zoellick’s 10 July speech to the Australian-American Leadership Dialogue can be found at the TLN website www.tln.org.nz.

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