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First JMC meeting with Saudi Arabia ends well

Media Statement
6 June 2002

First JMC meeting with Saudi Arabia ends well


The first-ever Joint Ministerial Commission meeting with Saudi Arabia concluded well today, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said.

Saudi Arabia commerce minister Osama bin Ja'afar al Faqeeh led a 50-strong delegation of government officials and private sector representatives to the three-day meeting, which ended this afternoon with the formal signing of a declaration.

Mr Sutton said the JMC meeting had been a significant step forward in the Saudi Arabia-New Zealand relationship.

He said several issues had been progressed, most importantly a bilateral accession agreement between New Zealand and Saudi Arabia, which was an important step towards Saudi Arabia joining the World Trade Organisation.

"Other nations have yet to complete their accession agreements with Saudi Arabia, so it will be some time before we can see the results from this flow through.

"The JMC process is a good one. These sorts of meetings give us a good opportunity to focus on the relationship and to develop it together."

Dr Faqeeh left Wellington this afternoon to go Christchurch where he will meet Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton and local business people.

On Saturday, Dr Faqeeh returns to Saudi Arabia.

Mr Sutton said Saudi Arabia was an important market, and Dr Faqeeh's visit was significant.

Last year, New Zealand exported $309 million of mainly meat and dairy products to Saudi Arabia, and imported $404 million of mainly petroleum products.


ENDS

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