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Closure of Miramar factory - free trade agreement

Development or Exploitation
Closure of Miramar factory - free trade agreement forum

Assa Abloy New Zealand, formerly Interlock Group, says its Miramar factory will be gone by the end of 2005.

"While Interlock's decision to close is a result of unfair competition from cheap Chinese imitations and the high exchange rate, rather than the prospect of tariff cuts on imports, it highlights the inevitable loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs in New Zealand if Labour ever signs an free-trade agreement with China.

A forum has been organised for Tuesday 8th March by the Green Party and Latin America Solidarity Committee to explore the relationships between fair development, sustainability and international trade agreements. A particular focus will be the proposed Closer Economic Partnership between New Zealand, Chile and Singapore that is being negotiated at present.

Paul Bruce said that Prue Hyman, a research associate in Gender and Women’s Studies at VUW will present the results of research by ARENA (Action, Research & Education Network of Aotearoa), that shows that neither the New Zealand nor Chilean government has examined the real social and economic implications of the deal for their people.

Elinor Chisholm has coordinated an environmental project in Ecuadorean schools over the recent year and will report on her experiences on proposed Andean Free Trade agreements.

Terence Wood, who completed a Master’s Dissertation on Participatory Budgeting, will reflect on the history of participatory democracy in Brazil and outline how free trade agreements place limits on reform.
Other participants will report back from the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre this last January.

Betsan Martin, Elinor Chishom and Gary Williams will also outline the major outcomes from the
World Social Forum in Porto Alegre earlier this year.

Betsan, a philosopher and educator who specialises in the Treaty of Waitangi, was part of an international team who are initiating a Charter for Human Responsibility throughout the world. Along with Charter workshops Betsan gave a presentation on the Foreshore and Seabed and safeguarding the oceans, in the terrain of the Earth's common Goods. The charter team were also in Chile for an annual meeting.

Gary, a self-employed engineer who has a 50 ha diverse permaculture property, meet with biodynamic and permaculture people.

The forum will conclude with an open discussion on whether it is possible to get greater transparency on free trade and investment agreements, while protecting human and environmental rights.

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