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South Pacific trade mission to go ahead in March

South Pacific trade mission to go ahead in March

Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton is to lead a trade mission to the South Pacific in March.

The trade mission will go to four of the key New Zealand export markets in the South Pacific ? French Polynesia, Samoa and American Samoa and New Caledonia - from 3 March till 11 March 2003.

Mr Sutton said the Pacific Islands were a major market for New Zealand exporters, totalling NZ$845.7 million for the year ending 30 June 2002, an increase of $70 million over the previous calendar year.

"It is estimated that with the addition of services, for which no accurate statistics are available, the value of foreign exchange earnings from this region for New Zealand would exceed $1.2 billion.

He said a wide range of exporters, including a substantial number of small and medium sized enterprises, sent products to the islands, including a high proportion of manufactured goods.

Mr Sutton said the last trade mission to those countries was 10 years ago. The mission will travel together on an RNZAF Boeing.

Mr Sutton said he would also meet trade and agricultural counterparts in each of the four countries and territories to discuss bilateral issues.

"The entry into force of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations in October, and the future implementation of the trade facilitation programme, will be a key issue of regional interest. Although the French Territories are not signatories, they have expressed interest in discussing the trade facilitation aspects of the agreement."

Companies interested in this mission should contact David Robertson at Trade NZ on 04 496 6414 or mailto:David.Robertson@tradenz.govt.nz.

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