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Images: NZ to play bridge building role at WTO

9 November 2001 Media Statement

New Zealand to play bridge building role at WTO

Mike Moore and Jim Sutton

New Zealand could have a key role to play at the world Trade Organisation meeting scheduled to start this evening, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton and officials met World Trade Organisation director-general Mike Moore yesterday afternoon.

They discussed the organisation of this week's meeting in Doha, Qatar, and exchanged views on how the meeting might proceed. Agriculture, the most important area for New Zealand, would be the first sector to be discussed when ministers begin discussions tomorrow.

Mr Moore said that New Zealand had a professional team at the Doha meeting, and as a country, had a high reputation.

He indicated that Mr Sutton, New Zealand officials, and special advisers had a key role to play in order to ensure the launch of a new round.

"Blessed are the bridge builders. We have to move beyond getting up and describing the problem.“

Jim Sutton, Mike Moore, and Stuart Harbison, Hong Kong's ambassador to the WTO (who wrote the draft declaration)

Mr Moore said New Zealand had a reputation for being able to bring consensus, and he looked forward to Mr Sutton and his officials helping the WTO team in getting a new round of world trade negotiations launched this week.

He said people needed to remember that the Doha meeting was only about launching a new round. It was not about finalising a new multilateral trade agreement – that would come after years of hard work and negotiation.

"We can only move as far in one area of national interest as we can get others to move in their areas of national interest. Everyone will have to give a little."

Mr Sutton said New Zealand had come to the meeting with extremely clear goals: a new trade round, a comprehensive one including agriculture, was vital. Making gains in market access for products New Zealand exported would be beneficial for all New Zealanders, he said.

A new round would also be good for developing countries, which needed market access to trade their products in order to fund improved living standards for their citizens, Mr Sutton said.

"But the stimulus of more trade and greater market access would be good for the whole global economy, which has been hard hit by the events of September 11."

The Doha meeting begins at 5.30pm on November 9 (3.30am November 10 NZ time) and will be opened by the Emir of Qatar.

It runs till November 13.


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