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Another nail in NZ-US trade coffin

Hon. Lockwood Smith MP
National Foreign Affairs & Trade spokesman
5 August 2004

Another nail in NZ-US trade coffin

New Zealand's failure to negotiate a trade agreement with the United States is compounded with every step taken towards the implementation of Australia's agreement, says National's Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman, Lockwood Smith.

The Australia-US Free Trade Agreement recently received strong bi-partisan support in the US Congress, and this week President Bush signed legislation implementing it. The only remaining step is for it to pass through the Australian Parliament. It is scheduled for implementation on January 1.

"Every month that goes by with no action on a New Zealand deal puts us at risk from investment diversion across the Tasman," says Dr Smith.

"The Labour Government should be held to account for this monumental failure.

"The US is negotiating agreements with other areas, such as the Southern African Customs Unions and the Andean Group, and in no case is it leaving out one of the countries in those trading groups. But New Zealand is being left out of a possible regional deal, and Phil Goff and Helen Clark should be held to account for this failure.

"Australia's FTA is projected to be worth $6 billion a year to Australia. Labour's failure to negotiate a similar agreement for New Zealand will mean the income gap between Australians and New Zealanders will widen further, and some of the best of our young people will continue to make their futures across the Tasman", says Dr Smith.

Ends

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