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Minister welcomes US trade authority approval

Media Statement|

7 December 2001

Minister welcomes US trade authority approval

The approval of trade promotion authority by the United States' House of Representatives was welcome news, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said that while the voting margin was narrow, it was a victory for the Bush administration. No American administration has had trade promotion authority since 1994.

"It's great news. Trade promotion authority means that President George W Bush and his team have a mandate to negotiate trade agreements and Congress will be not be able to relitigate them clause by clause, line by line, but will simply have to vote to ratify or refuse the whole agreement."

Mr Sutton said it was believed that the Clinton administration's lack of trade promotion authority mandate was a major factor in the failure to launch a round of world trade negotiations at the World Trade Organisation ministerial meeting in Seattle in 1999.

"The American team at the Doha WTO meeting didn't have it, but everyone knew it was coming."

Mr Sutton said he hoped that the American Senate would also approve the trade promotion authority bill quickly, for it to be signed by President Bush, passing it into law.

He said the American administration's gaining trade promotion authority would benefit New Zealand.

"It very much improves the prospects of a successful WTO negotiation over the next few years. It removes an extensive obstacle to our realising our hopes of negotiating a regional trading arrangement with the United States. Without trade promotion authority, they would not be able to negotiate agreements with sensitive items in them."


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