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Massey "Domestic Champion" For APEC Food System

Massey University New Zealand's "Domestic Champion" For APEC Food System

Massey University will act as New Zealand's "domestic champion" for the implementation of the food technology component of the APEC food system proposals, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

The proposals were agreed at the 1999 Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation leaders' meeting held in Auckland.

Massey's Professor Paul Moughan will head the project.

Mr Sutton said New Zealand had taken a lead role in the APEC food system initiative, an innovative joint industry-government project. It offered far-reaching benefits and reflected an integrated view of the needs of rural communities, and the contribution that food sector development could make to national objectives throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

To implement the food system, the APEC business advisory council (ABAC) has advocated a network of "domestic champions" ? institutions in each member economy which have the relevant technological expertise and ability to articulate the issues involved.

Sir Dryden Spring, who leads New Zealand's delegation to ABAC, has a key role in progressing the food system through his position as co-chair of ABAC's trade and investment taskforce.

Mr Sutton said he was delighted New Zealand could call on Massey University's wide range of expertise for this important initiative.

"Massey will make an invaluable contribution alongside government and business through sharing knowledge on technological advances in the field."

Other elements of the food system package are the development of rural infrastructure and promotion of food products trade. Massey University will be working closely with government officials and Sir Dryden on the implementation of the package.

Mr Sutton said that for New Zealand and other Asia-Pacific nations, the trade liberalisation recommendations were particularly important because the food sector was one of the most restricted and distorted in most economies.

"APEC members have agreed to support the elimination of agricultural export subsidies and unjustifiable export prohibitions.

"This will take time, requiring action in the World Trade Organisation, but the overall package was carefully designed to offer something to everyone. I very much welcome the co-ordinated approach being brought to this exercise by government, business, and the academic community, for New Zealand's overall benefit."

Mr Sutton said Professor Moughan, as head of Massey University's institute of food, nutrition, and human health, was ideally placed to take the leading role, drawing on the relevant expertise throughout the university.

As a first step, Professor Moughan will attend the inaugural "domestic champions" meeting in St Louis, the United States next month.

Office of Hon Jim Sutton

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