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NZ Enters Tariff-Free Trans-Pacific Agreement

Improved opportunities for New Zealand with trans-Pacific trade agreement

Tariffs will be eliminated and markets opened up for New Zealand exporters with a new Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement.

Ministers from New Zealand, Chile, Singapore and Brunei, at a meeting with their APEC counterparts in Jeju, South Korea, have announced that negotiations have been completed for what was formerly called the Pacific-Three Closer Economic Partnership (P3 CEP).

Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton described the partnership agreement as a major achievement for New Zealand.

"This is our first agreement with a Latin American country and it opens up the Chilean market to New Zealand exporters of goods and services. "

The agreement provides for comprehensive tariff elimination among all countries by 2017. In particular tariffs will be eliminated on 90 percent of New Zealand's current exports to Chile when the partnership enters into force. 92 percent of New Zealand's exports to Brunei will also enjoy bound duty free access on entry into force of the agreement. (This is scheduled to be 1 January 2006 but is dependent on parliamentary processes.)

Mr Sutton said the partnership is also of significant strategic value for New Zealand as it spans the Asia Pacific region and can grow in the future.

"This negotiation started off with New Zealand, Chile and Singapore working towards a Pacific-three agreement. We've already seen this initial partnership of three countries grow with Brunei joining the negotiations part-way through to make it a four-way agreement."

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