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Singapore Imports To Be Scrutinised Closely

Conditions for lowly-paid ethnic workers toiling in factories in bonded free trade zones in Indonesia, as described by Aziz Choudry, may well be terrible, Minister for Trade Negotiations Jim Sutton said today.

However, their plight has little to do with the Singapore-New Zealand Closer Economic Partnership agreement, he said.

Contrary to Mr Choudry's assertion, the mere pressing and labelling of the products of Indonesian rag trade workers in Singapore will not qualify those clothes for tariff-free entry into New Zealand under the new agreement.

The CEP rules of origin specify that 40 per cent of the good's final value must come from Singapore to qualify. Pressing and labelling is not going to achieve that.

As for cheap electrical and electronic appliances, these have been entering New Zealand dutyfree for some time, and so will not be affected at all by the CEP, Mr Sutton said.

"The good news is that the very negotiation of the Closer Economic Partnership, even before it is signed, is already assisting entrepreneurial New Zealanders to make exciting moves into the Singaporean market with a host of high-tech products and other goods and services."

The goal of trade liberalisation the Government is aiming for is to enable countries to improve their living standards by concentrating on selling what they produce best.

New Zealand is one of the world's best food producers. It also produces top-quality designer fashion goods.

Maybe if the clothing produced by those workers in Batam, as described by Mr Choudry, was able to be sold easily around the world, those workers would be able to buy a better future for themselves and their children, Mr Sutton said.

Ends




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