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Scaremongering over GATS

Scaremongering over GATS

Needless fears are being raised over GATS, says Business NZ.

Chief Executive Simon Carlaw says the General Agreement on Trade in Services allows New Zealanders to sell their services in many more parts of the world.

"Just as GATT is working on overcoming trade barriers that prevent New Zealanders from exporting agricultural products, GATS focuses on overcoming the barriers to the export of services.

"New Zealand already makes millions every year from international education services and stands to make even more with further progress under GATS.

"But a number of groups are making spurious, alarmist claims about what an enhanced GATS would do. For example it's been claimed the agreement would place an obligation on the New Zealand government to allocate funding to foreign education providers. This is completely false. The government would be totally free to decide how it spent public money on education, as now.

"New Zealand has stood up fearlessly for free trade in goods. It would be inconsistent to now run away from free trade in services, and a great waste, since GATS has the potential to substantially increase New Zealanders' prosperity," Mr Carlaw said.

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