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NZ Signs WTO Accession Agreement With Tonga

NZ Signs WTO Accession Agreement With Tonga

New Zealand has completed bilateral World Trade Organisation negotiations with Tonga, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton announced today.

The agreement is a significant step forward in Tonga's bid to join the World Trade Organisation, Mr Sutton said. It means that New Zealand has agreed with Tonga the terms for entry of goods and services to Tonga after it joins the WTO.

"This outcome will deliver tariff savings of well over $6m a year for New Zealand exporters supplying goods to Tonga and will mean greater certainty for businesses providing services to Tonga."

"New Zealand strongly supports Tonga's bid for membership of the WTO. WTO membership will enable Tonga - a developing country in our region - to participate fully in the international trading system," Mr Sutton said.

"I am delighted that we have been able to agree on an accession package which meets the needs of New Zealand and Tonga".

New Zealand exports to Tonga in the year to December 2003 totalled NZ$60m. Key exports included boats, meat, timber and dairy products.

Countries joining the WTO need to reach agreement with key trading partners on terms for market access and, more generally, demonstrate that their trade policies are consistent with WTO rules.


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