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Trade Negotiations – NZ Can Make a Difference

Trade Negotiations – New Zealand Can Make a Difference!

Returning from a twenty one day trip during which she spoke to more than eighty people from over a dozen countries, TLN Executive Director, Suse Reynolds said she was left in no doubt about New Zealand’s international trade influence.

“New Zealand – our products and our people – can and do make a difference,” she said.

“We should be under no illusions as to why that is. We make a difference because we have an open economy – not a big economy.

“Our products set high standards in every market they enter and New Zealanders, be they politicians or business people, can talk credibly about the benefits of an open economy.

Without an open economy our products would lose their competitive edge and our politicians would be irrelevant in international trade forums.”

Reynolds said the unavoidable conclusion was that the only hope for meaningful economic growth lay in a world which continued to lower trade barriers.

“We need to use every opportunity available, be it in bilateral, regional or multilateral agreements, like the Doha Round, to push for trade liberalisation,” she said.

The Doha Round would certainly go at least a year beyond its stated deadline of 1 January 2005.

“This is largely because the dynamics of world trade have changed. Developing countries, and the G20, are demanding their concerns be met. Access to international markets is vital to them and the US and EU were no longer the power brokers,” Reynolds noted.

In this environment she said New Zealand had all the right credentials to play a key role in the outcomes of the current trade round.

“New Zealanders can speak from experience about the benefits of an open economy and we have a reputation for coming up with creative ideas and solutions,” Reynolds added.

As well as taking soundings on the state of world trade negotiations and the role of the G20, Reynolds also took the opportunity to explore the extent to which our businesses might influence policy decisions in key markets.

“There is certainly scope for our big companies to influence the policy of off shore governments and they should not shrink doing so,” she said.

Trip dates - 30 January 2004 to 21 February 2004. Visited - Washington, London, Brussels, Paris, Geneva and Singapore.

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