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Fonterra Welcomes Trade Talks

Media Release
20 November 2004

Fonterra Welcomes Trade Talks

Fonterra Cooperative Group has welcomed the announcement that New Zealand and China are to begin negotiations on a free-trade agreement.

Fonterra’s Director Government and Trade, Philip Turner, said that while multilateral trade liberalisation through the WTO was Fonterra’s foremost objective, bilateral agreements could also deliver useful benefits.

“It is strategically critical for New Zealand to be inside the most dynamic zones of economic growth around the world, of which China is certainly one. We are pleased to see New Zealand taking a leading role in building economic ties with China,” he said.

“China is already a major player in the world economy and is growing extremely fast. It is one of the top four or five customers worldwide for Fonterra and will only get more important to us.

China’s rapidly-growing dairy industry already has low dairy tariffs by world standards, but Mr Turner said an FTA could provide benefits over and above tariff reductions.

“As well as border measures, an FTA provides significant scope for improving the behind-the-border business environment in areas such as regulation and standards.”

Mr Turner stressed that Fonterra was committed to a long-term partnership with China.

“This is not just a question of exporting bulk New Zealand milk powder to China. The rapid growth in Chinese consumption of dairy products creates the potential for us to work together with Chinese producers and companies, using our technology and product innovation to provide a full range of world-class dairy products to Chinese consumers.”

- Ends -

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