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Minister to attend trade meeting in China

Media Statement|

8 July 2005

Minister to attend trade meeting in China

Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton leaves for China on Monday to attend a meeting of trade ministers looking for solutions as part of the World Trade Organisation's Doha Development Round.

Mr Sutton will be attending a "mini-ministerial" meeting in Dalian, China.

He said that while New Zealand was having a lot of success with bilateral trade agreements, the Government's top trade priority was the WTO negotiations.

The Labour-Progressive Government have successfully completed three trade agreements, with another three currently being negotiated.

Mr Sutton said a lot of effort was being put into the World Trade Organisation Negotiations, particularly in the build-up to the full ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December.

"At the moment, it's looking a bit grim.

"Negotiations on non-agriculture products are treading water, agriculture's not going too well either having been bogged down for months on technical issues, and services negotiations are making scant progress also."

Mr Sutton said there had however been some "dramatic and positive" signals - such as United States president George W Bush's offer to eliminate US domestic support for agriculture if the European Union did the same thing.

"This would be extremely beneficial, particularly when coupled with the agreement to eliminate export subsidies at last year's WTO General Council meeting.

"However, under WTO rules, nothing is agreed till everything is agreed, and there is still a lot of negotiating to go before we get to that position."

Mr Sutton returns to New Zealand on Friday, 15 July 2005.


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