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National needs to rejuvenate

National needs to rejuvenate

National's trade spokesman obviously needs a good long holiday, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said the opposition was scraping the bottom of the barrel in its criticism of the Government's trade policy.

"This Government has been quite clear about its trade policy. Our highest priority is the multilateral negotiations at the World Trade Organisation, because this is the only forum in which we can tackle the most egregious barriers to our trade: export subsidies.

"Australia is our biggest trading and economic partner at the moment, and we already have a comprehensive trade agreement with them. The United States is our immediate top priority for a bilateral trade agreement, being the biggest consumer market in the world.

"But, across the scope of the 21st century, the most important economic and trading relationship for New Zealand is that with China. It is our fastest growing market, it is a large market, and it is much more obviously a complementary economy for our own that either Australia or the United States, who are major agricultural exporters themselves."

Mr Sutton said National MPs would be much better off to develop their own trade policy and work in the best interests of New Zealand, rather than spend all their time trying to divine insults to other nations in what were perfectly innocent comments.

"Perhaps their trade spokesman needs to lay off the Red Bull and have a good lie-down."

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