United States Positive On Trade With NZ: Sutton
23 June 2000
UNITED STATES POSITIVE ON TRADE WITH NZ: SUTTON
The relationship between New Zealand and the United States was warm and friendly, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today. Mr Sutton is the first minister from the Labour-Alliance coalition government to formally visit Washington DC.
"We have been very well-received here. We couldn't have expected better than we've got."
Mr Sutton said the possibility of reviving work on P5 - a trade agreement between New Zealand, the United States, Australia, Singapore, and Chile ? was raised during his meeting with United States Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky.
"There certainly seems to be some potential for that? We knew it hadn't been going anywhere lately but the possibility is still there."
As well as meeting Ms Barshefsky and her deputy Richard Fisher, Mr Sutton met Senate agricultural committee head Senator Lugar, and House ways and means committee trade subcommittee head Congressman Phil Crane and the subcommittee's top ranking Democrat Congressman Sandy Levine.
"We've met the top people from both sides."
Mr Sutton said it was clear that New Zealand would be able to do business with the next United States administration, whatever side it came from.
"There is a strong element of bipartisan support for trade with New Zealand."
Mr Sutton said he also had a useful meeting with John Sweeney, the president of the American Federation of Labour-Congress of Industrial Organisations.
"He's the United States' Ken Douglas ? the statesman of the union movement."
Mr Sweeney had been an important supporter for Mike Moore's bid to become World Trade Organisation director-general.
Mr Sutton said he and Mr Sweeney talked about trade and labour issues and he felt that the thinking on those issues in the United States was not too dissimilar to the thinking in New Zealand.