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Case For NZ-US FTA Just Gets Stronger!

9 February 2004

Media Release

Case For New Zealand – United States FTA Just Gets Stronger!

News that Australia and the United States have finalised a free trade agreement reinforces the case for New Zealand to seek to ride on Australia’s coat-tail to join the free-trade queue in Washington without delay.

“It is now essential that we lift our campaign to drive home to Washington the critical collaboration we have with Australia under CER, and why therefore negotiation of a NZ-US FTA without delay will be in the interests of all three nations,” said Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett.

Given the close economic relationship that exists between New Zealand and Australia under the single market CER agreement; there is compelling logic that the US self-interest will be to bring New Zealand into a comparable arrangement to Australia with minimal delay.

“But it is up to us to make the case,” said Mr Barnett. “If we fail to get a similar arrangement in place, studies have shown that that there will almost certainly be a diversion of investment and trade from New Zealand to Australia,” he warned.

While there is Congressional and US Chamber of Commerce support for a NZ-US FTA especially given the integration of the New Zealand and Australian economies, now that Australia has concluded its own FTA with Washington there is added urgency to for New Zealand business interests to launch a reinvigorated campaign and call to action, concluded Mr Barnett.


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