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National Applauds Singapore Trade Deal

Trade deals such as the Closer Economic Partnership treaty with Singapore are a great long-term investment in the future of New Zealand exporters, Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

"Lowering the trade barriers which our exporters face on world markets is one of the most positive steps Governments can take on behalf of the people who make New Zealand's wealth.

"That's why the National-led Government started the negotiations that led to the CEP treaty with Singapore.

"And that's why we're supporting the deal today, having lodged our objection to the Treaty of Waitangi clause which goes far further than National would have done. (See separate statement.)

"Fair trade is the lifeblood of a small trading nation such as New Zealand. If we don't have access to world markets there's no way we can foot it in the world.

"But the free trade momentum is under threat in today's world. That's why the onus is on all responsible governments and political parties to be brave and compelling in making the case for lower trade barriers.

"By encouraging more trade we can lift New Zealand's prospects and give developing countries a real chance to get ahead.

"Deals such as the Singapore treaty will be stepping stones to wider free trade blocs which should re-energise the free trade momentum.

"I urge Helen Clark to overlook the objections of her coalition partner and make a strong case for free trade when she goes to next week's APEC leaders' summit in Brunei," Mrs Shipley said.

Ends


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