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New Zealand Continues Pushing For Wool Access

Chinese authorities have agreed to release the second half of the 2000 quota to provincial authorities for allocation to importers, Minister for Trade Negotiations Hon Jim Sutton said today.

He said this increase in the annual allocation from 293 000 tonnes to 306 000 tonnes was a result of New Zealand’s in-principle bilateral agreement with China on WTO accession, where China committed to increase the quota allocation in annual steps from 1998 through to 2004.

I welcome this evidence of China?s commitment to implement our in-principle bilateral agreement.

"I look forward to reaching agreement with China on detailed arrangements for tariff quota administration for wool, so that we can tidy away this unfinished business and complete our bilateral WTO accession agreement.?

New Zealand has again pressed the case for improved market access for wool at the highest levels of the Chinese leadership, securing agreement to talks next month to seek a resolution of the issue.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Hon Phil Goff raised New Zealand?s concerns with Premier Zhu Rongji and with Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan in Beijing during his visit last week.

The existing slow, cumbersome and bureaucratic quota allocation system was limiting export opportunities for New Zealand wool growers. New Zealand is pressing China to replace the existing arrangements, upon entry to the WTO, with a new system - one which would be WTO-consistent, and which would allow New Zealand exporters to establish long-term commercial relationships with their clients, to the mutual benefit of both countries.

Following undertakings given to Mr Goff by Premier Zhu, China has agreed to officials? talks next month aimed at hammering out the details of a long-term solution.

Ends

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