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Liberalisation in the Global Trade in Services

Fonterra Supports Further Liberalisation in the Global Trade in Services

"Fonterra fully supports the New Zealand government in the WTO services negotiations under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)", Chief Executive Craig Norgate said today. "We agree with the ten guiding principles that will provide the basis for New Zealand's initial offer to WTO members".

"Although concerned principally with liberalisation in the international trade of goods, specifically in agriculture, Fonterra recognises the value in ensuring that there is a set of clearly defined rules that bring transparency and consistency to the way New Zealand's trading partners regulate trade in services".

Furthering the reform of services trade begun in the Uruguay Round will have particular benefit for Fonterra in the area of business services and transport, two issues that have been highlighted by the New Zealand government in its initial work on the WTO services negotiations.

Mr Norgate noted that Fonterra is an international business with operations in well over 100 countries and over 20,000 employees. "It is vital that our subsidiaries and people can operate freely without discrimination from local regulations". Such barriers may include restrictions on the scope, scale or structure of our companies or impediments to an individual's ability to work offshore in a particular sector.

With customers and operations in more than 140 countries and more than 50 per cent of its employees offshore, Fonterra also has a keen interest in the liberalisation of transportation and communications services. The ability to access the most cost-competitive, innovative and efficient services in these sectors plays an important role in mitigating the inherent disadvantage that New Zealand exporters face due to our geographic isolation.

Global trade in services has grown significantly over the past decade, with its share of total international trade destined to rise in the years ahead as technological advances in areas such as telecommunications make the world a smaller place. Fonterra believes it is imperative that the General Agreement on Trade in Services continues to evolve in recognition of this trend.

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