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Leaders Summit Can Send Strong Message To US

2 March 2004

Media Release

Australasian Leaders Summit Can Send Strong Message To
United States Congress On Three-Way Fta Benefit

The Prime Ministers’ Summit between Helen Clark and John Howard creates a window of opportunity for the two leaders to send a joint message to the US Congress on the mutual benefits of piggy-backing New Zealand into a similar free trade agreement recently agreed between Canberra and Washington.

Michael Barnett, chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, said that the US Congress needs to understand that when the US and Australia sign a free trade agreement, the longer New Zealand goes without a similar platform in place, the inevitable result will be to disadvantage and distort investment flows and trade opportunity to New Zealand.

“Having recently visited with the Chamber of Commerce in Australia and communicated with the US Chamber of Commerce, I strongly believe neither Australia nor the United States business communities want their FTA to create an environment that disadvantages their relationships with business in New Zealand,” said Mr Barnett.

He indicated that the Chamber had sent a message to Helen Clark encouraging her to use the meeting with John Howard to request that he strongly articulate the case to the US Congress on our behalf that New Zealand should have a similar FTA platform to that concluded with Australia.”

The Chamber’s message to the Prime Minister also called on her to reinforce the “good work” recently undertaken by Finance Minister Michael Cullen to close off a number of accounting and legal process “loose ends” in the New Zealand-Australia closer economics agreement.


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