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Taiwan Joins the World Trade Organisation

12 November 2001 Media Statement

Taiwan Joins the World Trade Organisation

New Zealand welcomed the accession of Taiwan to the World Trade Organisation, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Taiwan, which will be officially called Chinese Taipei, was formally accepted into WTO membership at the WTO ministerial meeting in Doha, Qatar this evening (4am NZ time). That brings WTO membership to 144.

Mr Sutton said Taiwan's joining the WTO meant New Zealand exporters would save $45 million a year every year at current trade levels from now on because Chinese Taipei had agreed to reduce tariffs on New Zealand products when it got WTO membership.

As part of its membership package, Taiwan had negotiated an agreement with New Zealand that included significant tariff reductions, improved access for several products, and opened the door for more trade, he said.

Mr Sutton said Taiwan was an important trading partner for New Zealand, and he hoped that its accession to the WTO would mean improved trade links.

"We warmly welcome this accession."

He said that the last time a world trade negotiations round was launched, in 1986, there were only 40 members.

"The rapid growth in the WTO's membership is a strong sign that most countries do see international trade as a route to their prosperity."

The Doha meeting began at 5.30pm on November 9 (3.30am November 10 NZ time) and was opened by the Emir of Qatar. It runs till November 13.

ENDS

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