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Volume of de-classified documents marks CER's 20th

Volume of de-classified documents marks 20th anniversary of CER

Foreign Minister Phil Goff will tonight launch a volume of previously restricted documents on the negotiation of CER, at a function marking the 20th anniversary of the trans-Tasman agreement.

The volume, 'The Negotiation of the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement 1983', was jointly prepared by New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and their counterparts in Australia.

Mr Goff said former Australian Deputy Prime Minister Doug Anthony, a primary architect of CER, would be a special guest at the function.

“I am delighted that Doug Anthony is able to attend the launch, as no single individual contributed more than he did to the negotiation of this significant agreement," Mr Goff said.

"The volume illustrates the process of the negotiation between two close but competitive nations that saw their economic futures intertwined. It provides some glimpses into the very real pressures to which each side was subject.

"Looking back, it was a far-sighted undertaking. The New Zealand and Australian economies were very different then from the dynamic, globally-engaged economies they are today.

"The agreement was struck before the European Economic Community became the European Union, before the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed, and before the World Trade Organisation was set up, yet New Zealand and Australia created a free trade area that remains one of the most open and comprehensive in the world," Mr Goff said.

Although CER entered into force on 1 January 1983 after signature of a Heads of Agreement, the actual treaty was not concluded until 28 March 1983.

Copies of the volume will be available from Bennetts Government Bookshops.

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