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Agriculture Minister To Visit Australia

Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton is to visit Australia at the invitation of Australian agriculture minister Warren Truss.

Mr Sutton leaves for Brisbane today, and returns to New Zealand on Friday.

As well as having bilateral discussions with Mr Truss, Mr Sutton will also visit some farms in Queensland and Victoria at Mr Truss' invitation. He will also visit the Customs Detector Dog National Breeding and Development Centre in Melbourne.

Australia is New Zealand's largest trading partner, and Mr Sutton said there were still outstanding agricultural issues between New Zealand and Australia.

"I welcome this opportunity to spend time with my Australian counterpart, and it will be useful to get a better understanding of the Australian agricultural sector."

He said that in the build-up of multilateral trade negotiations in the World Trade Organisation, the Cairns Group of agricultural exporting nations was stepping up its work to convince other WTO members to push ahead with proposals to reduce agricultural export subsidies and other barriers to primary production trade.

"New Zealand and Australia are both influential members of the Cairns group, which Australia chairs. This visit will provide an opportunity for Mr Truss and I to discuss the potential for our two nations working together as part of the Closer Economic Relations partners and Cairns Group members to advance our mutual interests internationally."

Mr Sutton returns to New Zealand late on Friday night.


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