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Jim Sutton Speech To TLN Launch

Speech Notes 30 October 2001

6pm, 31 October 2001

Trade Liberalisation Network launch, Wellington

Chairman Brian Lynch, executive director Stephen Jacobi, ladies and gentlemen: This is a timely gathering.

In just over a week's time, trade ministers from the 142 World Trade Organisation member countries will be meeting in Doha, Qatar.

New Zealand's position is quite clear. We want another round of world trade negotiations.

Our core interests in a round include further liberalisation of market access for agriculture, non-agricultural goods (including fish and forestry), and services; strengthened trade rules to guard against protectionism and unfair trade practices; and better integration of the work of the WTO with other international priority areas, such as sustainable development.

This Government sees these things as a vital part of maintaining, if not improving, New Zealanders' living standards.

New Zealand is currently enjoying the benefits from the last round of world trade negotiations, the Uruguay Round. I believe we will gain even more substantially from this one, if we can get it underway in Qatar.

For small countries ? such as New Zealand ? that commitment to working together is important. It is only through the rules-based trading system of the WTO that we can force larger, more powerful countries to obey the rules and to stop blocking our products ? as has been shown with the lamb tariff case against the United States and the beef case against South Korea.

This Labour-Alliance Government is for trade ? but rules-based trade, not free trade. Free trade is law of the jungle stuff, and we're not looking to get into that. Small countries like us need rules, we need an enforcement agency like the WTO, to protect our interests.

We are working to pursue sustainable development globally, and will be seeking to introduce consideration of environmental and labour standards into the mix. I emphasise that it would be inappropriate for those two issues to be used as protectionist mechanisms to prevent countries from trading? Instead, we see their worth in areas such as fisheries. The removal of trade-distorting fish subsidies would benefit the environment, because those subsidies contribute to over-fishing.

Ladies and Gentlemen: I know the main attraction tonight is Mike Moore, albeit by video, so I won't hold things up!

Trade is vital to our country. But for too long, the explanation of that to our citizens has been neglected, both by government and by businesses. This government and my officials are trying to redress that, and I am delighted that our export industries are pitching in.

I congratulate you on the formation of the Trade Liberalisation Network and I wish your organisation every success.

Thank you.

Office of Hon Jim Sutton


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