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Fonterra Welcomes New Zealand - Russia Agreement

Media Release 27 November 2003


The New Zealand Government is to be applauded for its efforts in achieving the first bilateral trade agreement with Russia by a Western country in the lead-up to Russia's World Trade Organisation (WTO) accession bid, Fonterra Chairman Henry van der Heyden says.

"This is a significant achievement and is a result of many hours of work on both sides", Mr van der Heyden says.

The agreement, signed today in Moscow by Hon Jim Sutton and Russia's First Deputy Minister for Economic Development and Trade, sets out the framework for New Zealand's trade with Russia following its formal accession to the WTO, including in key agricultural sectors.

Dairy accounts for more than 80% of the total value of New Zealand's exports to Russia. The agreement sets maximum levels for tariffs on dairy imports and provides security for New Zealand dairy access after accession.

"One of the key benefits to New Zealand of Russia achieving WTO membership is that it provides exporters such as ourselves with certainty surrounding the rules imposed by our trading partners," Mr van der Heyden says.

"Russia is the world's largest open dairy market. It has been, and continues to be, a very important market for the New Zealand dairy industry. Fonterra is confident that there is a bright future for the Russian dairy market, which will only be enhanced by WTO accession."

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