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Services Trade Important, But Not Everything

Services Trade Important, But Not Everything

Wellington Chamber of Commerce chief executive Charles Finny is being disingenuous in attacking the lack of services commitments in the Thai trade agreement, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said that the products that Mr Finny attacked as "dinosaur" commodities actually earned about two-thirds of all export earnings for New Zealand.

"The creative industries Mr Finny wishes to champion and other service industries are important, but there is no need for them to denigrate other exporters and their importance to our economy."

Mr Sutton said there were valid reasons for why the Thai agreement had set aside services negotiations for three years, and Mr Finny as a former senior Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry official was well aware of those reasons.

"Each trade agreement is negotiated separately and on its own merits. New Zealand has a policy of comprehensive trade agreements, but each trade agreement is the result of a negotiation with another country, and compromises are made to produce deals that have the maximum amount of benefits possible."

Mr Sutton said he was pleased with the Thai trade agreement, and hoped that the legislation necessary for its ratification would be in place by the time the agreement was to come into force.

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