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Hong Kong Deal Could Open Door To China

Greens Concerned Hong Kong Deal Could Open Door To China

The Green Party said it was disappointed to learn of plans for a free trade deal with Hong Kong yesterday, saying such a deal could open our country to cheap Chinese goods produced in sweatshops or with child or prison labour.

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said there had been no discussions between the Government and the Green leadership on this issue.

"The Greens hold very serious concerns about the impacts of free trade in general, and especially such deals involving countries where child labour and sweatshops are used to produce goods as cheaply as possible," she said.

"From a human rights perspective the Greens hold grave reservations about free trade deals between New Zealand and countries with no minimum labour or environmental standards.

"From a domestic and economic perspective we do not see how New Zealand manufacturing industries which respect workers and the environment could possibly compete against goods produced by children or in sweatshops with no environmental standards," she said.

Ms Fitzsimons said clothing, footware, textile and manufacturing industries had already been decimated in New Zealand through current free trade deals and that the deal with Singapore, and the planned deal with Hong Kong, would be the final nail in the coffin for some New Zealand industries which had remained viable.

"The flood of cheap imports from China that this deal would unleash could never be matched by any export opportunities it might create," said Ms Fitzsimons. "Our already serious balance of payments deficit, which has driven our dollar to an all time low, would become terminal.

"The Greens believe trade should be the icing on the cake of a strong local economy, not a replacement for it."

Ends

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