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Free Trade Must Be Discussed

Transtasman talks between the Prime Minister and John Howard should deal with how New Zealand can best achieve a free trade deal with the US, says National Party Leader Bill English.

"With a crucial visit to the White House just weeks away, Helen Clark must decide whether New Zealand will push for a free trade agreement on its own or go with Australia.

"John Howard has been pushing his case for a free trade agreement based on Australia's record as a loyal ally to the United States.

"New Zealand has traditionally had close ties with Australia and many will be wanting to know from the Prime Minister how her talks today have further cemented that.

"It's a tight call for Clark but she needs to decide soon which argument she will be putting to George Bush next month. There are high expectations that her visit will bring a free trade agreement a step closer.

" So now is the time to sort the issue out with the Australians and she needs to let us know what decision she has reached ," says Mr English.

Ends

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