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World Trade Organisation Not Working - Greens

Green Party Agriculture Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street MP today said the whole fiasco with the WTO case involving New Zealand lamb imports to the United States highlighted serious flaws in binding free trade deals.

Mr Ewen-Street said despite a WTO ruling ordering the US to drop restrictions on New Zealand lamb imports, the United States was dragging the chain and making even more of a mockery of the WTO.

"The Greens believe the WTO is a farce because trade should always be between willing parties. It must never be forced.

"The WTO is dangerous because - as this case illustrates - it simply doesn't work well in the interests of all countries. Also, the Greens feel that sovereign nations should have every right to turn down imports that, for whatever reason, they do not want," said Mr Ewen-Street.

Mr Ewen-Street said in the coming years New Zealanders would increasingly see the down-side of successive Government's willingness to sign up to binding free trade deals.

"For example Canada want to export trout into New Zealand which local anglers argue could seriously damage New Zealand's fishery. If we say no, they are likely to take us to the WTO to force us to accept their exports; or following Australia's ban of Californian grape products due to serious biosecurity concerns the US are now appealing to the WTO, claiming that this ban is a non-tariff barrier to trade," he said.

"There are a number of examples like this and New Zealanders should continue to question what these free trade deals actually mean for New Zealand's sovereignty, sustainability and trading success" said Mr Ewen-Street.

"The Green Party support fair trade over free trade and every country's right to decide what goods can be imported, and on what basis."

Ends


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