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EU trade commissioner visits

19 July 2002

EU trade commissioner visits

European Union trade commissioner Pascal Lamy is to visit New Zealand this weekend, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said he last met Mr Lamy in Brussels in May.

"That was a useful and constructive meeting where we reinforced the shared New Zealand and European commitment to the hugely important World Trade Organisation's Doha Development Agenda, as well as discussing some other international trade issues.

"We will continue this discussion in Auckland tomorrow. There is a lot New Zealand and the European Union have in common, but, at the same time, some areas of difference, especially relating to agricultural negotiations.

"I will be interested in getting a readout from Mr Lamy of the European Commission's proposals to reform the Common Agricultural Policy. If adopted, these would be a step in the right direction, although we would like to see further reforms in key areas such as dairy."

Mr Sutton said there were successes, such as the European acceptance of New Zealand's organic assurance programme which will make it easier for exporters to send organic products to Europe.

"However, I will tell Mr Lamy of our concerns about the new EU wine labelling regulation recently approved in Brussels which will govern the import of wine into Europe from next year. In the nine months to March, our wine exports to Europe were worth $105 million and we do not want this trade disrupted."

Mr Sutton said he also wanted to hear from Mr Lamy how the meeting between Europe and developing countries from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific in Fiji went.

"I am pleased to welcome Mr Lamy and his team to New Zealand. Although it is a brief visit, we have packed some events into it such as a tour of the America's Cup village."

Office of Hon Jim Sutton

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