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Chamber Welcomes WTO Progress

19 December 2005

Chamber Welcomes WTO Progress On Agricultural Export Subsidies

The Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce welcomes the progress made at the Hong Kong WTO Ministerial meeting but is deeply concerned about the lack of progress made in key areas of the negotiation – services and non-agricultural product market access. These areas are of direct interest to the great bulk of the Chamber’s membership.

“Jim Sutton and his team have done a good job in Hong Kong. They have kept the negotiations alive and the removal of export subsidies by 2013 on agricultural products must be very positive for New Zealand agricultural exporters and the wider economy. It should eventually lead to better commodity prices and less competition for New Zealand exporters in some important markets.

I hope that before these negotiations conclude similar good progress is made on agricultural market access and disciplines on domestic subsidisation”, said Charles Finny, Chamber CEO.

“90% of the Chamber’s members are services companies. We also have many manufacturing, fishing and forestry companies in our membership. Fishing and forestry are not part of the WTO agriculture negotiations. Services, forestry, fishing and manufacturing make up the great bulk of our economy. These WTO negotiations have to date made very little progress in areas of direct interest to most of our economy.

In particular these companies are expecting the WTO negotiations to deliver new and improved market access opportunities for non-agricultural products and services.

To date no new market opportunities and no improvements to market access appear in prospect. We hope that New Zealand will redouble efforts to achieve progress in services, fish, forestry and manufactured products. To help kick start this progress we hope that New Zealand is prepared to put some ambitious offers on the table when negotiations resume in the New Year”, Charles Finny continued.

“Aside from delivering an outcome of direct interest to most of our members and most of our economy, the prospect of good outcomes on services and non-agricultural product market access will make it harder for the EU and some others to resist pressure for further concessions on agriculture – particularly on agricultural product market access”, Charles Finny concluded.

ENDS

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