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Fonterra Applauds CEP Partnership With Thailand

Media Release
1 December 2004

FONTERRA APPLAUDS CLOSER ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP WITH THAILAND

Fonterra welcomes the New Zealand Government's success in concluding a comprehensive Closer Economic Partnership agreement with Thailand.

Chairman Henry van der Heyden says Thailand is an important market for New Zealand dairy farmers and generated in excess of NZ$200 million last season.

"This is a substantial agreement for the New Zealand dairy industry. It is very important because it will re-establish a level playing field with Australia in the market not long after Australia's free trade agreement with Thailand enters into force."

Australia is due to implement its free trade agreement with Thailand on 1 January 2005. It is expected that New Zealand's agreement will begin on 1 July 2005.

Tariffs will be eliminated immediately on imports of New Zealand infant milk formula, casein, and lactose, while tariffs on yoghurt, buttermilk, milk protein concentrate and butterfat are expected to be removed by 2009.

Tariffs on whole milk powder will drop from 18% to 15% when the agreement is implemented and will reduce down to zero by 2020, creating significant opportunities for Fonterra.

Mr van der Heyden says the agreement will ensure Fonterra is better placed to grow exports into the region.

- Ends -


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