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Jim Sutton trip to Europe, the US and Mexico

Jim Sutton trip to Europe, the United States, and Mexico - 13 May till 1 June 2002

Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton leaves for a three-week trip to Europe, the United States, and Mexico today.

Mr Sutton said the trip was a wide-ranging one that would take in many issues important to New Zealand.

First, Mr Sutton will attend the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development trade ministers' meeting in Paris.

"This is an important meeting for New Zealand as it brings together ministers from all developed nations. This year, we will be discussing how best to achieve results as part of the Doha Development Round. At the end of the OECD meeting, we will meet with World Trade Organisation director-general Mike Moore."

There will be meetings on the side of the OECD with Australian, South African, and Hong Kong ministers.

From Paris, Mr Sutton goes to Geneva where he will meet with the head of the International Labour Organisation, Juan Somavia, and the ambassadors to the WTO from India and Japan.

From Geneva, Mr Sutton goes to Copenhagen, Denmark, where he will meet the minister for food, agriculture, and fisheries Mariann Fischer Boel, state secretary for trade Birger Riis-Jorgensen, as well as Maersk shipping line chief executive Jess Soderber, before going to Brussels where he will meet European Commission trade commissioner Pascal Lamy and dine with some members of the European Parliament.

Mr Sutton said Denmark was a important country for New Zealand to get alongside.

"They are about to become the president of the European Union. Denmark has views on trade liberalisation akin to our own, and I think it's important for us to get together to discuss what we see happening in the world at the moment, particularly in the build-up to negotiations for the latest world trade round."

Mr Sutton is also going to London, England, where he will meet Secretary of Trade and Industry Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Margaret Beckett, National Farmers Union president Ben Gill, Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food chair Sir Donald Curry, as well as members of the environment, food, and rural affairs House of Commons select committee who visited New Zealand earlier this year.

From London, Mr Sutton goes to Washington DC, in the United States. There he will meet agriculture secretary Ann Veneman and trade representative Robert Zoellick, as well as a range of academics, businesspeople, congressional staff, and journalists.

"Secretary Veneman and USTR Zoellick are key people in the Bush Administration. I will be keen to discuss with them how we can go forward in our releationship, both bilaterally and multilaterally."

Mr Sutton said he expected to discuss both the recent safeguard measures placed on New Zealand steel imports and the United States Farm Bill.

"The Farm Bill is bad news for New Zealand and other agricultural exporters because of its high level of subsidies. We wish the Congress had not passed it as we think it will also make it harder to achieve agricultural trade liberalisation in the Doha Round.

"But I note that the US Administration, and particularly USTR Zoellick and Agricultural Secretary Veneman, are committed to further trade liberalisation in agriculture - and they may well have preferred a different outcome.

From Washington DC, Mr Sutton goes to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation trade ministers meeting, which will also be attended by WTO director-general Mike Moore and World Bank president.

"APEC is a useful forum for New Zealand. It enables us to meet with counterparts throughout the Asia Pacific region to discuss matters of importance to us, both on and off the agenda."

Mr Sutton returns to New Zealand on June 1.


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