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NZ Welcomes US Administration Getting TPA

2 August 2002

New Zealand welcomes Bush administration's gaining of trade promotion authority

Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton today congratulated President George W Bush, United States Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, and the United States Administration on achieving trade promotion authority.

"President Bush, his administration, and members of Congress should be congratulated for their successful efforts in getting TPA approval. This provides an important signal that the US is committed to trade liberalisation."

Mr Sutton said trade promotion authority allowed the United States to pursue its agenda for trade liberalisation on several fronts - multilaterally through the Doha Round, as well as through regional and bilateral agreements.

"This will be welcomed by all those seeking further trade liberalisation through the Doha Round and provides valuable momentum to current efforts in Geneva."

Trade promotion authority also allows the Bush Administration to negotiate bilateral and regional agreements without Congress changing the terms of those agreements. Mr Sutton said New Zealand had made it clear that it would like to negotiate a trade agreement with the United States.

"We have made sure that New Zealand's interest in a bilateral agreement with the United States is known at the highest levels of the Administration. The Prime Minister raised New Zealand's interest in an agreement with President Bush in Washington in March. She also discussed the issue with Secretary of State Colin Powell and Trade Representative Bob Zoellick. During my own visit to Washington in May, I also discussed the possibility of a New Zealand-United States trade agreement with Mr Zoellick and Secretary for Agriculture Ann Veneman. We are continuing to build support for that objective.

"Our embassy officials in Washington are meeting with members of Congress to inform them of New Zealand's wishes for a trade agreement with the United States, and of our impeccable credentials in trade liberalisation."

American business leaders have already put their considerable weight behind the New Zealand campaign for a trade agreement with the United States. More than 100 major American businesses have signed a letter to President Bush to urge him to commence negotiations with New Zealand.

94 percent of respondents to a recent Trade Liberalisation Network poll in New Zealand believed that New Zealand should pursue a trade deal with the United States. This result shows that there is strong support in New Zealand for initiatives to expand trade and create better trade rules.

The NZ/US Council, a business group encouraging the expansion of trade and investment between the United States and New Zealand, is working alongside the Government to ensure that New Zealand makes a strong case for a trade agreement with the world's biggest economy.

"Now that TPA has been granted, we hope the Administration will use its new Authority to press ahead strongly with trade liberalisation and that in addition to its leadership in the Doha Round it will also agree to include New Zealand as a negotiating partner for a bilateral trade agreement."

Ends


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