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Sutton To Visit Bangkok, Singapore

10 February 2000

Media Statement
for immediate release

SUTTON TO VISIT BANGKOK, SINGAPORE

Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton leaves on Friday for Singapore and Bangkok, where he will lead New Zealand’s delegation to the 10th conference of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD X).

Mr Sutton said New Zealand regarded UNCTAD X as an important conference because of the significant role it could play to support trade liberalisation, and ensuring its benefits were delivered equitably to all trading nations.

“International trade benefits countries at all stages of development. It has helped to lift millions of people out of poverty, and developing countries’ share of world trade has now risen to 30 percent, compared with less than 20 percent 15 years ago,” Mr Sutton said.

“Developing countries could benefit substantially from a new round of multilateral trade negotiations, and through its analytical and capacity building work, UNCTAD can assist developing countries to participate in the international trading system, and to ensure that they reap an equitable share of the benefits.”

While at UNCTAD X, Mr Sutton will meet Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile; Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Supachai Panitchpakdi, and Ministers from Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, Chair of APEC 2000. He will also meet World Trade Organisation Director-General Mike Moore and UNCTAD Secretary-General Rubens Ricupero.

Mr Sutton’s visit to Singapore will involve meetings with Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and Trade Minister George Yeo which will provide direction for the New Zealand-Singapore Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

“My visit to Singapore will allow me to review progress on the Free Trade negotiations, and to provide Ministerial direction as they move toward their final stages.”

The Minister said his visit would also provide an early opportunity for the new Government to reinforce the high value New Zealand placed on its relationship with Thailand and Singapore, and more broadly with ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries as a group.

ends

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