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New Zealand must seize ASEAN opportunity

2 December 2004

New Zealand must seize ASEAN opportunity

ASEAN has opened the door for New Zealand to join the successful ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) and must seize the opportunity, says Asia New Zealand Foundation chairman, Sir Dryden Spring.

Sir Dryden made the comment after in the wake of announcements from this week’s ASEAN Summit in Laos attended by Prime Minister Helen Clark.

They included agreement to enter into negotiations on a NZ-Australia free trade agreement with ASEAN, and an indication that New Zealand would consider with positive intent acceding to the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation.

Sir Dryden says being part of AFTA would give New Zealand much better access to the large and rapidly growing markets of South East Asia,

“This is a huge opportunity for New Zealand and has become even more attractive with the commencement of ASEAN’s intention to create a Free Trade Agreement with China.”

Further moves are likely to create an East Asian community involving both South Korea and Japan.

The Asia New Zealand Foundation believes that New Zealand should be prepared to accede to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation as it would be a powerful demonstration of our commitment to the Asian region.

“Asia is a dynamic and rapidly growing region which is opening up. Our exports to Asia are already almost as great as to all of the Americas and Europe combined and it provides a third of our tourism revenue,” Sir Dryden said.

“New Zealand’s future prosperity is inextricably linked to the Asia region. We must grasp the opportunity to further develop our Asian trade and political relationships.”

ENDS

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