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NZ and Singapore happy with CEP

NZ and Singapore happy with CEP

13 July 2004

NZ-Singapore CEP second annual review

Closer trade links with Singapore over the past three years have strengthened New Zealand's business profile in the island state and helped develop a new trade gateway into Asia, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

He was speaking following a meeting in Wellington this afternoon with his Singaporean counterpart, Trade and Industry Minister, George Yeo, to mark the Second Ministerial Review of the New Zealand-Singapore Closer Economic Partnership Agreement.

Mr Sutton said the CEP came into being at the beginning of 2001 and since then we have seen New Zealand business substantially increase its presence in Singapore.

"Three years ago there were 97 New Zealand companies incorporated in Singapore. Now there are 135, including large businesses specialising in high growth areas such as engineering consultancy, travel, technology and IT.

"Many of these companies value the Singaporean connection not only for its only sake, but as a bridgehead for operations further into Asia. I'm delighted that this ? the first New Zealand free trade agreement outside CER ? has brought gains in this way."

The CEP with Singapore was also contributing effectively to wider New Zealand trade objectives, Mr Sutton said.

"The Singapore agreement is an important building block in the "Pacific Three" (P3) trade negotiation involving New Zealand, Singapore and Chile, and would fit well alongside ASEAN-New Zealand-Australia free trade talks that we hope will be launched in November."

During Minister Yeo's visit, the two ministers signed a New Zealand-Singapore Film Co-Production Agreement and agreed to consider ways in which the CEP could strengthen both trade and investment flows, and the competitiveness of New Zealand and Singaporean businesses.

Also signed was a memorandum of understanding between New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Singapore's Investment and Enterprise.

"This will allow the two trade promotion agencies to work together to develop commercial opportunities in third countries," Mr Sutton said.

New Zealand and Singapore had agreed to work together to enhance cooperation between regulatory authorities in areas such as professional services, timber standards, cosmetics, horticulture and customs, he said.


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