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Turkish-New Zealand trade talks

Hon Jim Sutton

23 September 2004

Turkish-New Zealand trade talks

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener and Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton have signed an agreed Minute focussing on a number of ways that the economic relationship between the two countries can be strengthened.

The minute was signed this afternoon, following two days of official discussions.

Mr Sutton said he welcomed the opportunity to talk about ways we can enhance the economic links between New Zealand and Turkey.

"Turkey is a country with which we have long had very warm relations, based on our shared sacrifice at Gallipoli. But our economic relationship has lagged behind our political and people-to-people contacts.

"Turkey is our 57th largest trading partner and our exports there are definitely below what they could be. I asked Deputy Prime Minister Sener to look at the high tariffs that keep out many of our products. But there are definite areas of promise, particularly in services."

Turkey is strategically located, and is a country with a great deal of potential. The EU is currently considering whether to initiate accession discussion with Turkey. If this occurs, its importance to New Zealand in economic terms will increase even further.

Mr Sutton said our earthquake engineers have been actively pursuing opportunities in Turkey.

"Like New Zealand, Turkey is very earthquake prone. We have some real expertise to offer in helping to secure their buildings ? which would help to limit the damage from earthquakes and save lives - and New Zealand companies were able to highlight this in the discussions."

Education services is another area of real potential, with 75 students studying here in the past year. With the support of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, a group of New Zealand institutions have been actively marketing in Turkey as the Turkish Educational Export Network (TEEN).

"TEEN was able to explain to Turkish officials what New Zealand has to offer. They see a real prospect for developing this market, and hope to have many more Turkish students taking advantage of our quality educational institutions in the future."

Deputy Prime Minister Sener was able to see for himself two New Zealand universities ? Canterbury and Lincoln ? both of which are members of TEEN.

Mr Sutton said some interesting new areas of potential engagement were also touched on during the talks.

"I understand that Airways Corp were able to raise their interest in a Turkish project to upgrade their Air Traffic Control operations during the meeting."

ENDS

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