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Japan's excessive import taxes create urgency

Japan's excessive import taxes make fair trade rules urgent for NZ and developing countries

The news that Japan wants to raise import taxes on New Zealand beef to an unbelievable 50%, up from an already outrageously high 38.5%, underscores the need for fair international trading rules, Progressives MP Matt Robson says.

Japan is the fourth largest export market for New Zealand beef and the higher tariff could cost New Zealand $10 million a year in lost earnings, according to one estimate.

"Japan's excessive import taxes are a clear example of why we need fair international trading rules. As a small nation with little power in the global market, New Zealand is dependent upon fair, transparent trading practices.

"Excessive and unreasonable trade practices by Japan and the European Union, which discriminate against food exporters by making their products prohibitively expensive for Japanese and European consumers, also undoubtedly contribute to perpetuating inequality between agriculturally-dependent Third World societies and the rest of the world," Matt Robson added.

"It is critical for global stability and social justice that Japan, the European Union and the U.S. meet their responsibilities at the current World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round of multilateral negotiations. Tariffs on our agricultural exports must be significantly reduced.

"With a single stroke of a pen, countries like Japan could lift the living standards of some of the poorest countries of the world.

"The Doha Round proposes to lower barriers to cross-border trade in agricultural and non-agricultural goods and in services. With 75% of New Zealand's GDP in services, and almost 25% or our exports, it is essential that progress be made at Doha to develop fair and transparent trading rules for both goods and services.

"New Zealand now wants the rest of the world to reduce their unfair restrictions that inhibit New Zealand agricultural and services exporters' access to overseas markets," Matt Robson said.

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