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Minister meets with Mike Moore

The WTO and New Zealand: Minister meets with Mike Moore

New Zealand can play a leadership role at the WTO by assisting developing countries to represent their own needs and concerns directly to the WTO, Director-General Mike Moore told Minister for overseas aid, Matt Robson in Geneva.

Matt Robson is meeting with various officials and groups, including Mike Moore from the World Trade Organisation, while he is in Geneva to give two key note speeches at the Conference on Disarmament,

"Mike and I discussed looking at New Zealand's overseas aid programme in terms of development, rather than simply in terms of aid donations.

"In particular we talked about the difficulties developing countries have in representing themselves at the WTO.

"Sometimes they don't have the resources to get their representatives to Geneva for WTO meetings. Other times they are just unsure technically, how the system works and how to get their voice heard.

"Mike suggested that smaller countries like New Zealand are ideally placed to take a leadership role here and assist developing countries to make sure they don't get shut out of the process.

"New Zealand could for example look at contributing funds to get representatives from developing countries to Geneva.

"Developing countries must get the opportunity to raise their objections to WTO policy directly, and have the chance to work towards modify policy. They cannot be left out the loop.

"I told Mike that I would discuss this with my cabinet colleagues on my return to New Zealand," said Matt Robson.

Last year the Seattle round of trade talks at the WTO was disrupted by protestors.

Further comment: Josie Harbutt, press sec. 025 5888 60 (04 470 6676)

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