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Asia region free trade bloc exciting prospect

Media statement Wednesday, April 5, 2006

ASEAN, China, India, Japan, Australasian free trade bloc exciting prospect

New Zealand should take seriously the suggestion by the Japanese Trade Minister that a 15 or 16 country Asia Economic Partnership be formed, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

“We find the proposal exciting and welcome it,”said Alasdair Thompson, EMA’s chief executive.

“It would see participants moving towards full and free trade, including for our processed foods.

“It would represent an economic bloc to rival North America and the EU as it represents half the original grouping of APEC plus China and India.

“At the least it would force an acceleration of true fair and free trade under the WTO agenda, rather than let lopsided trade agreements, such as that between Australia and the US, continue to win prominence.

“Importantly it would ensure New Zealand is not left out of the huge potential markets of the greater Asia region, which is more than ever the most logical trade bloc to join.

“EMA urges the Government to join the discussions with Japan over the proposal.”


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