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Study predicts access boost from Thai trade deal

Media Statement
26 April 2004

Study predicts access boost from Thai trade deal

Significantly improved access for New Zealand’s exports to Thailand is expected following the negotiation of a Closer Economic Partnership agreement, according to a joint study conducted by the two governments.

Acting Trade Negotiations Minister Phil Goff, who published the study in New Zealand today, said the pursuit of improved conditions for New Zealand’s exporters was a top priority for the Government.

In line with this strategy the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Thailand agreed in November last year that the negotiation of a trade-liberalising CEP should follow preparation of a joint study.

"This study highlights benefits for both Thailand and New Zealand in entering into the trade partnership," Mr Goff said.

“The two economies are largely complementary with primary products dominating New Zealand exports in exchange for mostly machinery and manufactured imports from Thailand.

“New Zealand and Thailand have a close and longstanding relationship. The flow of business people, tourists and students between our countries has resulted in a high degree of familiarity and understanding of each country’s people and cultures.

"This means that both countries will be well equipped to take advantage of opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration under the agreement making both countries more competitive in the global market place.”

Mr Goff said Thailand was a dynamic, rapidly modernising economy. It is an increasingly important hub for doing business in Southeast Asia.

Two-way goods trade between New Zealand and Thailand was worth more than NZ$800 million in 2003. Services trade is also important, with nearly 20,000 Thai tourists and 3,400 students having visited and studied here last year.

"New Zealand exports to Thailand face a range of tariff and non-tariff barriers that currently restrict trading opportunities," Mr Goff said.

“The reduction of tariffs and the removal of other trade barriers through a CEP is expected to generate real benefits for New Zealand exporters of both agricultural and manufactured products.

"For example, dairy exports face tariffs of between 18 and 30 percent plus quota restrictions; which horticulture (up to 40 percent), meat (30 to 50 percent), and manufactured exports (up to 20 percent) all currently attract stiff tariffs.

"The study also looks at opportunities from improved trade in services and investment connections and government cooperation in other trade related areas."

Mr Goff said there had been a good response from exporters and other stakeholders to the earlier call for submissions on the proposed CEP.

“Further views and information on issues covered in the study will be welcomed by the New Zealand negotiating team. The team will continue to consult with interested parties as the negotiations proceed."

Negotiations are expected to be concluded by the end of this year.

A full version of the study is available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website (www.mfat.govt.nz). Copies of the joint study are currently being printed and will be sent to businesses, organisations and individuals who have expressed an interest in the New Zealand/Thailand CEP.

ENDS

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