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WTO Failure Disappoints Business Forum

(www.nzibf.co.nz)

Media release – 30 July 2008

WTO Failure Disappoints Business Forum

The New Zealand International Business Forum today expressed its deep disappointment that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting in Geneva had failed to agree on a way forward for the Doha negotiations.

“Failure in Geneva is bad news for everyone” said, NZIBF Executive Director Stephen Jacobi. “Bad for New Zealand because the opportunity to reduce tariffs and export subsidies once again eludes us. Bad for the developing world because they need improved access to developed country markets to promote growth and address poverty. And bad for the global economy that desperately needs the boost in confidence that conclusion of the Doha round would bring”.

The International Business Forum brings together New Zealand’s largest exporters and leading business organisations. NZIBF regards the WTO as New Zealand’s top trade priority.

Mr Jacobi commended Trade Minister Phil Goff and New Zealand officials for the constructive role they played at the meeting.

“Phil Goff and his team have done all they could to secure a positive outcome. The New Zealand involvement in the green room discussions has been constructive. New Zealand WTO Ambassador Crawford Falconer can be credited for the significant advances made in the agriculture discussions. Considerable progress was made during the week but the final compromises could not be made by major players”.

Mr Jacobi said the outlook for the Doha round was uncertain but the negotiations had been revived from similar setbacks in the past.

“The outcome from Geneva is not as bad as from Cancun in 2003 but the failure is a severe blow and it will take some time, particularly given the forthcoming elections in the US, to recover”.

“For New Zealand this means continuing to devote resources to completing current bilateral negotiations, exploring new bilateral opportunities particularly with Korea, the United States and Japan and finding ways to promote freer trade in APEC, using the P4 agreement as a template”.

ENDS

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