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CER Will Wither On The Vine

CER Will Wither On The Vine

Monday 9 Feb 2004
Ken Shirley
Press Releases -- Foreign Affairs & Defence

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Foreign Affairs and Trade Spokesman Ken Shirley today predicted that CER will now wither on the vine, following Australia's first stage Free Trade Agreement with the US.

"Australian exporters will now look to the US market with the enhanced trading regime - if inconsistencies or obstacles arise through CER, then CER's interests will be subjugated and sacrificed to Australia's greater interests and opportunities under the FTA," Mr Shirley said.

"This would not be malicious in any way, but merely a reflection of reality. The Australian/US FTA provides for immediate, free and open access to the US market for Australian exporters of almost all manufactured goods and services.

"There will now be duty-free access for over 97 percent of Australia's manufacturing exports to the US, which were worth $5.84 billion last year. Also, substantially improved access for Australia's agricultural sector is provided - including beef and dairy products - with more than 66 percent of agricultural tariffs going to zero from day one of the agreement.

"Parallel to the demise of CER, our companies and investment will increasingly look to Australia in preference to New Zealand. Large trading corporates will relocate their head offices to Australia to take advantage of the increased opportunity.

"Many Kiwi companies already have greater assets in Australia than they do here, and require little more incentive to move. Our economic survival and social wellbeing is based on our trading opportunities. Our greater risk is being consigned to isolated irrelevancy.

"Having isolated ourselves on defence and security matters, the Clark-led Labour Government is now, by omission, consigning New Zealand to an increasingly bleak future.

"I am calling on the other political parties to support my Private Members Bill, which would remove the anachronistic and damaging ban on nuclear-propelled ship visits - the world does not owe New Zealand a living and, regrettably, it seems we are about to learn that lesson the hard way," Mr Shirley said.


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