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Clark Gives Myanmar Tariff Free Access To NZ

ACT, New Zealand’s free trade party, welcomes Helen Clark’s decision to grant free trade access to the world’s poorest countries, said ACT leader Hon Richard Prebble.

Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today all of the least developed countries of the world will have duty-free access to New Zealand for all their imports from July 2001.

“However the policy decision seems to have been hurriedly made overseas to create a favourable impression at APEC. It is ACT’s policy that decisions such as this should be announced and debated in parliament rather than be issued by press statement from Brunei.

“In the list of countries receiving preferential treatment are nations that are regarded as lepers by the international community. For example Myanmar is subject to sanctions from the EU and the US for a military dictatorship which is holding the democratically elected leader and Nobel prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, in house arrest.

“Similar observations can be made about Afghanistan, believed to be encouraging international terrorism.

“What message has Helen Clark sent to military juntas worldwide by opening up New Zealand’s economy to Myanmar and Afghanistan?

“ACT believes global free grade is the only way to achieve a prosperous world community, but opening our doors to the world’s most corrupt and oppressive economies will do nothing to promote freedom and peace.

“It will be interesting to see how Helen Clarks announcement fits with the Alliance’s fair trade policy. During the last election Jim Anderton said,

“New Zealand was "stupid" to give other countries free access to its markets when its exporters faced trade restrictions in other countries…

“Why should we be the suckers who say, `You can come into our country for nothing but you can keep charging us to come into yours'?” said Mr Anderton

“Alliance supporters will be looking to Mr Anderton answers over this huge (and encouraging) policy U-turn,” said Hon Richard Prebble.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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