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Jim Sutton Letter To Business Forum Participants

20 December 2000

Dear Sir/Madam

I am pleased to write to you as one of the Economic Ministers in Cabinet to follow up the discussion at the recent Business-Government Forum in Auckland and to outline the specific steps I am taking in my portfolios to respond to business concerns.

I was sorry not to be able to attend the Forum as I was leading a trade delegation to Turkey. I was delighted however to learn of the Forum's support for trade missions and can report that between New Zealand and Turkey there is a growing amount of trade in services, particularly education, and agriculture products.

In my role as Minister for Trade Negotiations I am determined to continue and extend the Government's partnership with business as we encourage new trade and investment, work to remove trade barriers and, where appropriate, enter into bilateral and multilateral trade agreements. An attachment to this letter outlines developments in my Trade Negotiations portfolio this year and some key objectives for the year to come. I would welcome your input into this either directly or through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

I have asked the Ministry to look to develop even further its already substantial interaction with business. The Ministry's Business Communication Coordinator, Tracey Black (phone 473 2157, fax 494 8518, email tracey.black@mfat.govt.nz) provides a convenient central contact point. The Ministry's senior management is willing to meet with business representatives at any time to discuss any aspect of the Government's trade policy strategy.

I consider it essential that the Government takes every effort to ensure that the international trading environment is favourable to our exporters, that you can - and do - fully exploit the comparative and competitive advantages open to you and that the Government actively supports New Zealand companies in key markets.

I am very aware of business compliance costs and my contribution to reducing those costs is to work for lower trade barriers in those countries to which we export.

As you know I also have responsibility for the Government's trade development promotion agency, Trade New Zealand, which has a very experienced team in offices throughout New Zealand and Trade Commissions in many countries of the world, with networks extending into others.

Trade NZ provides a wide range of services to help exporters convert overseas business opportunities into sustainable and profitable export earnings. It assists both existing exporters to expand their export business in international markets and new exporters who are taking on an export market for the first time. This year we have responded to the needs expressed by exporters with three significant initiatives.

We have provided additional funding to Trade NZ for a major e-commerce initiative that will enable it to provide help for small and medium exporters to gain access to the global economy by using the internet to trade offshore.

The promotion of New Zealand education overseas is being boosted through the development and implementation of a new education export strategy. Proposals have been developed for a new export credit guarantee scheme which we expect to be in place by 31 March next year.

International investment can play a critical role in developing new business and expanding our trading links with the world. As the Government's international investment agency, Trade NZ promotes and facilitates new overseas business investment into New Zealand. We have expanded Trade NZ's role in this area to ensure it is able to take a more proactive approach toward bringing to New Zealand investors and companies that are most likely to benefit our economy.

If you wish to find out more about how Trade NZ can assist your company, you can visit them on their website at www.tradenz.govt.nz or call their Export Hotline on 0800 555 888. A corporate profile of Trade NZ is also enclosed for your information.

I am also the Minister of Agriculture with responsibility for New Zealand's biggest and most important business sector, producing 60% of exports and the base for much of our future economic development and our developments and innovation in science and technology. I am responsible to the Government for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, although I am not the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries or Biosecurity. I am responsible for the Food Assurance Division of MAF and am proud that it has an international reputation second to none.

With sound advice from MAF and from others in the Government and Private Sector, I am closely monitoring the various Agriculture productive sectors and their Statutory Boards. I am not against reform or deregulation, but believe that any changes in a sector have to be made with majority producer support, protection of minorities and full consideration of the public interest.

I am also this country's first Minister for Rural Affairs and provide a voice in Cabinet for those living, working and doing business in rural areas. I am concerned that rural areas, so critical to our economy, have the roads, telecommunications, energy supplies and access to health and education services, that their urban cousins take for granted.

Thank you for the contribution you are making to the economy of this country. My best wishes for Christmas and for a prosperous 2001.

Yours sincerely

Hon Jim Sutton Minister for Trade Negotiations Minister of Agriculture Minister for Rural Affairs

Office of Hon Jim Sutton

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