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PM welcomes FTA conclusion spanning four countries

Prime Minister welcomes conclusion of FTA spanning four countries

Prime Minister Helen Clark today welcomed the announcement of the successful conclusion of negotiations on what will be the first trans-Pacific free trade agreement covering four countries.

“The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement brings together New Zealand, Chile, Singapore and Brunei to improve market access between the four countries and focus on strategic co-operation,” Helen Clark said.

Ministers representing the four partners to the agreement made the announcement while attending a meeting of APEC Trade Ministers in Jeju, Korea.

The Prime Minister said the partnership agreement was not only New Zealand’s first agreement with a Latin American country but its Trans-Pacific nature was also of strategic importance linking the South Pacific with Latin America and Asia.

“The agreement offers significant trade gains for our exporters with the elimination of tariffs and the opening up of markets for our exporters. From the date the agreement comes into force, 90 percent of exports will enter Chile duty free while 92 percent of our exports to Brunei will enter duty free.” *

“However the real strength of this partnership agreement lies in the bridges it forges across the Pacific. I expect to see this agreement grow in the future – as we have already witnessed with Brunei joining in part way through the negotiating process,” Helen Clark said.

The Prime Minister also announced that New Zealand, Chile, Singapore and Brunei have concluded in parallel negotiations for an agreement on environment cooperation and a memorandum of understanding on labour cooperation.

"These binding instruments promote sound labour policies and practices and enhance environmental quality in both countries through co-operation and dialogue," Helen Clark said.

*The partnership agreement is scheduled to come into force on 1 January 2006, dependent on completion of each Parties respective domestic process.

*All New Zealand exports to Singapore enter duty free under the existing New Zealand-Singapore Closer Economic Partnership.

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