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Thai trade agreement comes into force

30 June 2005

Thai trade agreement comes into force

Exporters should take advantage of the Closer Economic Partnership negotiated between New Zealand and Thailand which comes into force tomorrow, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said.

Mr Sutton said the agreement provided immediate duty-free access to more than half our current exports, and full free trade over a longer period.

"This partnership ushers in a new era in economic relations between Thailand and ourselves, establishing a free trade area between the two countries.

"It dramatically improves access for New Zealand exports to Thailand and I encourage exporters to seriously look at the opportunities this deal opens up for them."

There are particularly big up-front gains for dairy, horticulture and manufacturing exporters with tariffs dropping to zero on Friday for many products. Beyond these sectors, all exports to Thailand will benefit from the tariff reductions scheduled under the Agreement.

The Closer Economic Partnership includes provisions designed to improve the regulatory environment for business transactions between New Zealand and Thailand.

Mr Sutton said he hoped that New Zealanders and Thais would make the most of the opportunities under the CEP for developing mutually beneficial partnerships.

"Thailand is a highly dynamic, go-ahead economy, with strengths that complement New Zealand's expertise and resources."

The New Zealand-Thailand Closer Economic Partnership was negotiated over six months in the second half of 2004 and signed by Mr Sutton and the Thai Commerce Minister Dr Thanong Bidaya in Bangkok on 19 April 2005, observed by Prime Ministers Helen Clark and Thaksin Shinawatra.

For details of New Zealand-Thailand Closer Economic Partnership at http://www.mfat.govt.nz/tradeagreements/thainzcep/overview/html

ENDS

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