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US Trade Announcement a Major Breakthrough

Media Release
5 February 2008

US Trade Announcement a Major Breakthrough

The announcement that the US trade negotiators are to engage more closely with the P4 countries (New Zealand, Singapore, Chile and Brunei) is excellent news according to of the Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The US has said it will join the P4 in negotiations on financial services and investment and will consider becoming a full partner in the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership that exists between those countries .

“This is a major breakthrough in New Zealand’s quest for a free trade agreement with the US,” said Chamber CEO, Charles Finny.

“Not only will New Zealand benefit from having the US aboard in the areas of financial services and investment, the fact that the US is considering becoming a full partner in the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership is particularly relevant to New Zealand as the US already has FTAs with Chile and Singapore.

“New Zealand financial services companies will benefit from access achieved through the negotiations with Singapore, Chile and Brunei, and New Zealand businesses and consumers will benefit from increased investment in the New Zealand economy and better access to financial services from the participating economies.

“More importantly it is a small step for New Zealand toward a full free trade agreement with the US as the US already has FTAs with Chile and Singapore.

“This would put New Zealand back on a level footing with Australia and other countries in the US market.

“It shows that the politics is changing and that the US is increasingly willing to develop the bilateral trade relationship with New Zealand.

“The US’s willingness to engage with this Asia Pacific grouping has longer term implications in that it could also reinvigorate the APEC process and be positive also for the WTO negotiations.

“Trade Minister Goff and his officials should be congratulated for achieving this milestone”, Mr Finny concluded.


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