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NZ signs trade deal with Russia

NZ signs trade deal with Russia

Russian trade deal

New Zealand has signed a trade agreement with Russia that should help the Russian Federation's accession to the World Trade Organisation, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

The signing ceremony in Moscow, between Mr Sutton and Russia's First Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade Ivan Materov, formally concluded negotiations with the Russian Federation on a market access deal for New Zealand exports of goods to the Russian Federation.

This announcement follows the recent APEC Bangkok Economic Leader's Declaration, supporting the early accession of the Russian Federation to the WTO.

The deal will facilitate the Russian Federation's accession to the World Trade Organisation. New Zealand is the first Western country and agricultural exporting nation to sign a bilateral goods access agreement with the Russian Federation. The only other country to reach agreement is the Kyrgyz Republic. The Russian Federation still needs to sign a number of bilateral deals with other countries to gain Membership of the Geneva based WTO.

Mr Sutton said the deal confirmed the recently strengthened relationship between the two nations. The two Ministers expected that closer commercial and technical links in the agricultural field in particular would be central to further developing the economic relationship between the two nations.

"We especially appreciate Russia's commitment to effective and stable access for our dairy and sheep meat exporters in this accession package", Mr Sutton said.

"The deal will enable New Zealand to play a part in the growth of the Russian economy in coming years. New Zealand has a very good reputation in Russia for providing high quality goods ? Russian consumers too will welcome the deal."

Mr Sutton said the bilateral deal would be particularly positive for butter and sheepmeat exporters. The agreement also covers many other products of key interest to New Zealand exporters, ranging from apples and kiwifruit to fish and fridges.

"Russia is an important market with great potential and we fully support its accession to the WTO. Conclusion of our bilateral market access deal providing long term security of access is a significant step in this direction", he said.

Negotiations on the Russian Federation's accession to the WTO began in 1993. Conclusion of the market access deal with New Zealand on goods will help inject momentum into these wider negotiations.

New Zealand will continue to negotiate actively with the Russian Federation on market access for services trade and will work with other WTO members to reach agreement with the Russian Federation on commitments on a range of WTO rules, thus paving the way for Russia's accession to the WTO.

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