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Trade major economic development priority

Trade major economic development priority in budget

Budget 2003 provides more than $73 million over four years to fund a range of initiatives to enhance New Zealand's trade performance.

Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton and Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said the measures included government-level efforts to open up market access and to get more firms into exporting.

"Our economic growth depends on policies and actions that improve our capacity to be innovative. Trade is a major priority in the Government's growth and innovation framework, as reflected in this announcement."

Budget 2003 allocates $14.2 million over four years (and $3.2 million a year thereafter) to support World Trade Organisation negotiations and bilateral closer economic partnerships and trade agreements.

"These trade liberalization measures hold the key for sustained export growth. Gains from the Uruguay Round are conservatively estimated at $500 million to $600 million a year, and even greater gains are forecast if the current Doha Development Round is successful."

The government will contribute $28,000 to the Asia 2003 Conference, which will take a fresh look at the opportunities Asia offers New Zealand.

A further $1 million a year is provided to establish beachhead offices in selected offshore markets. New Zealand exporters can use these facilities as a base to develop their markets.

Two of these "offshore incubators" were established in 2002 in Singapore and the United States (Fort Laudadale), with a further two to be set up this year in the United States (Silicon Valley) and Britain (London). The new funding will allow two further beachheads to be established in 2004-05 and beyond.

"To grow our economy, we need to provide support offshore for existing exporting companies and create more exporting companies. We will accelerate development of export networks, where exporters can help and learn from each other.

"We will increase exporter education programmes, and strengthen and promote Trade New Zealand's e-business website to exporters and potential buyers of New Zealand products.

"More support will be provided to firms participating in Ministerial-led trade missions. We know from experience that these can provide excellent door-opening opportunities."

An annual $1.2 million will fund the "Rainmakers" programme. Rainmakers are individuals with a high profile in key sectors or markets whose access to unique and new networks can help secure significant offshore deals.

"Developing the New Zealand economy requires us to ensure we make smart use of our opportunities," said Jim Anderton.

Jim Sutton welcomed the growing emphasis on trade in economic development policies saying: "increased trade through reducing government-level barriers among our trading partners and making it easier for firms to get into exporting and export more, will give the New Zealand economy a significant boost."

Other measures supporting the trade aspects of the Growth and Innovation Framework include the already-announced Tourism US promotion of $5 million a year for three years, and $29.4 million over four years to target key skills in our immigration policies.

Improving New Zealand's global connections through expanding access to foreign markets for goods, services, capital, and technology is a key priority for the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry, as outlined in its statement of intent, published with the 2003 Budget.

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